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Holocaust denier can be extradited to France, court rules

Vincent Reynouard was arrested in Fife in November 2022.

A Holocaust denier arrested in Scotland can be extradited to France where he is wanted by authorities, a court has ruled.

Authorities in France issued a domestic warrant for Vincent Reynouard over alleged offences relating to online videos some of which contain statements denying that the Holocaust happened.

The alleged offences include “public trivialisation of a war crime” and “public challenge to the existence of crimes against humanity committed during the Second World War”.

Reynouard, 54, was arrested in Fife in November last year and was remanded in custody after crossing the Channel to evade French authorities who had been pursuing him for two years.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court
A hearing took place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court (Jane Barlow/PA)

Sheriff Christopher Dickson said that statements in the videos are “beyond the pale of what is tolerable in our society” and “grossly offensive”.

He ruled that the alleged offences constitute an offence under Scots law as they would amount to a breach of the Communications Act, and that there was therefore no bar to extradition.

In a written ruling he said: “I have found that the conduct set out in the accusation warrant constitutes an extradition offence; there are no bars to extradition; the respondent’s extradition would be compatible with the convention rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998; and the respondent’s extradition would not be disproportionate.

“In such circumstances I order the respondent to be extradited to France.”

Holocaust denial has been a criminal offence in France since 1990 and Reynouard has been convicted on previous occasions, including being handed a four-month jail term in November 2020 and a further six months in January 2021.

Sheriff Dickson said that Reynouard was arrested in November 2022 on a conviction warrant concerning a 12-month jail sentence which was upheld in the Court of Appeal in Caen, Normandy, on June 17 2015.

The single offence he had been convicted of was disputing the existence of a crime against humanity and involved him publishing two videos online which, amongst other things, disputed the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and described the Holocaust as a myth, the sheriff said.

However, at a previous hearing the court heard that the conviction warrant had been withdrawn by French authorities due to the amount of time Reynouard had spent on remand in Scotland.

This left the domestic warrant which was issued by French authorities in November 2022, in relation to which Reynouard now faces extradition.

Sheriff Dickson’s ruling was published following a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.

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