Holocaust Denier's Trial Postponed Shortly After Opening

MANNHEIM, Germany - The trial of Ernst Zuendel, a prominent German Holocaust denier deported from Canada earlier this year, was delayed shortly after it started yesterday after the judge dismissed part of his defense team.

Zuendel, the 66-year-old publisher of works such as "Did six million really die?", is facing charges of inciting racial hatred and denying that the Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen ruled that Horst Mahler, a disbarred lawyer associated with the violent far-left Red Army Faction in the 1970s who has since become a supporter of far-right and anti-Semitic ideas, could not be part of the defense team.

He also dismissed Zuendel's publicly appointed defender, Sylvia Stolz, on the grounds that Mahler's ideas were reflected in her written submissions to the court.

Mahler, whose license to practice as a lawyer was withdrawn last year, was sentenced to nine months in prison in January for inciting racial hatred.

Meinerzhagen said the court would have to consider how to proceed with the case, which began yesterday and was originally scheduled to run for five days.

Zuendel said he was satisfied with the other members of the defense team he had appointed himself, but the judge insisted on a new public defender being appointed to ensure smooth handling of the trial.

Zuendel, a German citizen who has spent much of his life in Canada and whose name is sometimes spelled Zundel, ran a "revisionist" web site denying the Holocaust took place that is now run from the United States by his wife.

He was deported from Canada after being judged a threat to national security.