Rome, June 9 (IANS/AKI) Denying the World War II Nazi Holocaust is now a crime in Italy punishable with between two and six years in jail after the parliament outlawed incitement to racial hatred.
The lower house of parliament on Wednesday voted the bill into law with 237 in favour, 5 against and 102 abstentions.
The legislation also makes it a crime to negate genocide or crimes against humanity. It amends an existing law that already punished propaganda and incitement to violence on racist, ethnic or religious grounds.
The president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Renzo Gattegna, issued a statement hailing the new law as “historic”.
“It will be a fundamental new tool in the fight against those whose profession is lying, while liars, while safeguarding at the same time inalienable principles that include freedom of opinion and research,” Gattegna said.
France, Germany, Belgium and Romania are among the other European Union states which have criminalised Holocaust denial. Many of these countries also ban Nazi symbols.