Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

February 24, 2009 13:41 ET

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center: Ahenakew Affair Demonstrates Canada has a Strong Conscience...and Legal System

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 24, 2009) - According to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization committed to the development of a more just and tolerant world, the fact that David Ahenakew has been acquitted after a fair and transparent legal proceeding while being repudiated by Canadians for his hateful comments is a positive example to the world.

Saying that David Ahenakew's comments about Jews and the Holocaust were "revolting, disgusting and untrue" and that "The opinions distorted historical facts and general views expressed by the accused can only be viewed with revulsion and disgust by ordinary Canadians," Judge Wilfred Tucker nevertheless acquitted Ahenakew because of a reasonable doubt that he had intended to publicly discuss the matter.

"While the acquittal is disappointing, the legal rationale is impeccable," said Leo Adler, Director of National Affairs of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. "The trial judge upheld and strengthened Canadian values by blasting Ahenakew for his views, while at the same time finding that all of the legal requirements for a conviction had not been met beyond a reasonable doubt. The Nazi Germany that Ahenakew admired so much would never have given him the due process that he received in Canada."

In December 2002, Ahenakew told delegates at a health conference sponsored by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations that while stationed in Germany he was told World War II had broken out at the fault of the Jews. After his speech, Ahenakew made more hateful remarks to a reporter in a widely broadcast interview, which ultimately cost him his position on a number of boards.

"Canadians have already expressed their disappointment in Ahenakew for the man that he isn't by revoking his Order of Canada - and that speaks volumes," added Adler.

About Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is a Canadian human rights organization dedicated to fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. Visit: www.fswc.ca for more information.

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