Already on March 3, 2006 Georges Theil, 65, a retired telecommunications engineer, had seen his conviction for “Holocaust denial” upheld by the court of appeal of Limoges. He was guilty of sending, in a period running from April to June 2004, a booklet of his own revisionist writings to just a small number of persons in that region, and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of €30,000, ordered to pay €9,300 in damages, and hit with still other sanctions as well.
Yesterday, May 17, in Lyon the same Georges Theil was convicted on appeal for having made a brief revisionist statement on October 14, 2004 in front of a local television journalist’s camera, and sentenced to a new six-month prison term, fined another €10,000, and ordered to pay €40,500 in damages as well as to cover the costs of having the judgement published in two newspapers (probably as much as €8,000).
The offender has lodged a petition concerning the first case with the superior court of appeal in Paris, and is going to do the same for the second. If he fails there, he will, in principle, have to go to prison. In the first case, he has already paid out €39,300, and even a bit more. In the second case, he is going to have to pay out €50,500, not counting the legal publication fees. Some organisations have reacted with lightning speed: this very morning, by faxes sent to Georges Theil’s solicitor, they were demanding their pound of flesh.
In addition to these financial penalties it is appropriate to note, for the six proceedings involved (trials, first appeals, final appeals), the lawyer’s fees and other costs amounting to substantial sums.
As for the French media, they either pass these convictions over in silence or say they are glad of them.
On January 15 of this year, Georges Theil had sent out a plea for support to the 45 French intellectuals who were ostentatiously demanding, in the name of freedom of historical research and freedom of expression, repeal of the laws hindering those freedoms. Only two intellectuals answered him: one, Edgar Morin, who is Jewish, told him he could not help in any way because he had himself been found guilty of “racial defamation” (he had, to the mind of the Paris court of appeal, too strongly criticised Israeli policy!); the other, professor René Rémond, a Catholic and a shabbos goy, wrote back curtly expressing his refusal to come to Theil’s aid.
Addendum of 20 May 2006: In a note bearing today’s date, G. Theil, recalling another, earlier conviction, estimates the sum total of his financial penalties and costs at €130,000.
G. Theil’s postal address: BP 50-38, F-38037 GRENOBLE CEDEX 2 (France)
My own trial is to take place on Tuesday July 11 in the XVIIth chamber of the Paris criminal court (2, 4 Boulevard du Palais; nearest underground station: “Cité”) at 1.30 p.m. I am accused of having granted, last year, an interview of revisionist nature to the Iranian radio and television station Sahar, in the context of a telephone conversation with a Teheran journalist who had called me. Since the satellite channel Sahar’s broadcasts can be picked up in France, our Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), headed by Dominique Baudis, filed charges against me with the public prosecutor’s office in Paris.
18 mai 2006