Holocaust revision historian faces jail

July 4, 2003

French historian Jean Plantin last week won an appeal to restore two postgraduate degrees that had been withdrawn on grounds of their Holocaust-related revisionism.

But within days of the decision, he was sentenced to six months in prison for continuing his publishing activities despite a ban and criminal convictions.

In 1990, Mr Plantin was awarded a masters degree with distinction in contemporary history by the University of Lyon 2 Lumi re, for a dissertation on Paul Rassinier, a founder of French revisionism.

The following year, he gained a postgraduate diploma from Lyon 3 Jean-Moulin for research into typhus epidemics in German concentration camps.

In 1999, Mr Plantin was given a six-month suspended sentence for denying crimes against humanity, which is a criminal offence in France, after publishing a review of banned works. He was also prohibited from publishing any more of his own writings.

Anti-racist associations succeeded in persuading the two universities to revoke Mr Plantin's qualifications in 2000 and 2001, but he appealed against the decisions.

Last week, the Lyon administrative court found in Mr Plantin's favour on legal grounds and restored his degrees. Under the law, universities can annul a degree that they have awarded only within four months of its presentation. In Mr Plantin's cases, nine or ten years had elapsed.

Although Mr Plantin had handed over his publishing company to his mother and to a friend, former Lyon academic Jean Faurisson, he continued to distribute revisionist works and promoted his theses on the internet.

Shortly after he was officially reinstated as a historian, the Lyon appeal court upheld a ruling made in January that sentenced Mr Plantin to six months in prison for contravening the 1999 order forbidding him from publishing books or journals.

The sentence now awaits confirmation from the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the French judicial system.

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