updated 10/4/2007 9:52:22 PM ET 2007-10-05T01:52:22

A right-wing Austrian author convicted of neo-Nazi activities was extradited from Spain on Thursday and will face charges that he denied the existence of the Holocaust and claimed the Nazis never used gas chambers.

Gerd Honsik, 65, was flown from Madrid to Vienna and would be required to serve an 18-month prison sentence stemming from his 1992 conviction, public broadcaster ORF said.

Honsik was arrested Aug. 23 in the southern Spanish city of Malaga on a Europol warrant issued by the Vienna public prosecutor's office, which formally requested his extradition.

Honsik had fled to Spain after being convicted in 1992 in Austria of neo-Nazi activities and sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison for writings that defended Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

Among his books is one titled "Absolution of Hitler."

Gerhard Jarosch, a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office, told the Austria Press Agency that a judge would rule within 48 hours whether Honsik would be placed in preliminary detention, and that it seemed highly unlikely he would be freed.

Austrian Justice Minister Maria Berger expressed "great joy over the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant in dealing directly with neo-Nazis."

Between 1986 and 1989, Honsik published writings disputing that the Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of Jews at Auschwitz and other concentration camps during World War II.

Believed to have committed multiple offenses
Austrian authorities have said they suspect him of committing similar offenses since Austria enacted a landmark 1992 law making it a crime to deny the Holocaust or promote Nazi propaganda.

"Since his conviction and his flight to Spain, he has committed many acts of Nazi propaganda on the Internet that we have to investigate," APA quoted Jarosch as saying.

Austria's law making it a crime to deny the Holocaust applies to "whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media."

The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

British author David Irving was convicted under the law in February 2006 and sentenced to three years in prison. He served 13 months and was released in December on probation.

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