Controversial historian David Irving was jailed for three years yesterday for denying the Holocaust under Austrian legislation which is said to be the harshest in the world in dealing with such an offence.
Prosecutors charged him under the 1947 law banning Nazi revivalism, and criminalising the "public denial, belittling, or justification of National Socialist crimes".
The 67-year-old academic was arrested by motorway police in Austria last year on a tip-off while on his way to deliver a speech on the Second World War to a right-wing student group in Vienna.
He is the author of more than 30 books on the Second World War and has contended most of those who died at concentration camps succumbed to diseases such as typhus rather than execution.
The historian conceded in court yesterday he erred in contending there were no Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz.
Irving (67) told the jury of six women and two men the Holocaust was "just a fragment of my area of interest", going on: "In no way did I deny the killings of millions of people by the Nazis."
But the historian, hand-cuffed and wearing a navy blue suit, arrived at court carrying a copy of one of his most controversial books - Hitler's War, which challenges the extent of the Holocaust.
Earlier, he told journalists he considered it "ridiculous" that he was standing trial for remarks made 17 years ago.
Before the trial began, Irving told reporters he now acknowledges the Nazis systematically slaughtered Jews during the Second World War.
Irving's lawyer, Elmar Kresbach, said last month the controversial Third Reich historian was getting up to 300 pieces of fan mail a week from supporters around the world, and that while in detention he was writing his memoirs under the working title Irving's War.
Irving in the past has faced allegations of spreading antiSemitic and racist ideas.
He once insisted Adolf Hitler knew nothing about the slaughter of six million Jews, and he has been quoted as saying there was "not one shred of evidence" that the Nazis carried out their Final Solution on such a scale.
The historian has also said he does not deny Jews were killed by the Nazis, but challenges the number and manner of Jewish concentration camp deaths.
He has questioned the use of large-scale gas chambers to exterminate the Jews, and has claimed the numbers of those who perished are far lower than those generally accepted.
In 1992, a judge in Germany fined Irving £4,000 for insisting the gas chambers at Auschwitz were a hoax.
In 2000, Irving sued American Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt for libel in a British court but lost. Judge Charles Gray, who presided in the case, wrote that Irving was "an active Holocaust denier... anti-Semitic and racist".
Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said he was "pleased" at Irving's conviction: "It is the conviction and not the sentence that matters. It sends a clear message to the world that we must not tolerate the denial of the mass murders of the Holocaust."