Sylvia Stolz “The Reality of Freedom of Expression” Full Speech, Uncut

Kladderadatsch comments on the CODOH Forum « It’s a great speech, and if they’re going to try to send Sylvia to jail for it, I’m going to do my part to make sure as many people hear it as possible. You can help too: spread it around! »

Description as provided by KZ Kladderadatsch:

The historic speech by dissident German lawyer Sylvia Stolz, uncut and fully translated. The speech they want to put Stolz in prison for, the speech they don’t want you to hear.

On 24 November 2012, dissident German lawyer Sylvia Stolz appeared at the eighth annual meeting of the “Anti-Censorship Coalition” in Chur, Switzerland, where she presented a speech entitled “Speech Forbidden, Evidence Forbidden, Legal Defence Forbidden: The Reality of Freedom of Expression” (Sprechverbot, Beweisverbot, Verteidigungsverbot: Die Wirklichkeit der Meinungsfreiheit). This video is a recording of that speech, complete and uncut. Previous subtitled versions circulating online as the “Full Speech” have actually included less than half of Stolz’s presentation. This version gratefully incorporates much of the subtitling of the earlier 44-minute version, but also revises that translation in places, in particular to bring out more clearly the legal issues that are at the heart of Stolz’s argument. As such, this new version is not only more complete, but hopefully more legally accurate as well.

In the speech, Stolz discusses her experiences as a defence lawyer for so-called Holocaust deniers in Germany, and describes the Orwellian system of state-enforced repression there which denies defendants (and their lawyers!) the right to explain themselves under threat of additional charges for the “repeat offence” of expressing a forbidden idea, even in their own defence in a court of law. Stolz further relates how the subject of the Holocaust itself has never been clearly or adequately defined by the German courts through the normal channel of judicial findings-of-fact in precedent decisions. Instead, the courts have relied on the arbitrary doctrine that the facts of the Holocaust are “self-evident” and thus in no need of proof, despite the obvious objection that the arguments of the “deniers” themselves clearly demonstrate that those facts are indeed contestable and thus cannot be “self-evident” by definition.

In the face of such abuses and absurdities, other lawyers might throw up their hands and simply walk away: Sylvia Stolz has the courage to call injustice what it is, and take a stand. Her speech is an extraordinary document of our times, a deeply moving call “to think what is true, to feel what is beautiful, and to want what is good.” Wherever you may fall along the ideological spectrum, if you believe in freedom of expression, this speech is a must.

And of course there’s one last outrageous twist to the story. On 25 February 2015, the German legal system heaped shame upon itself once more by sentencing Sylvia Stolz to twenty months in prison for “racial incitation” on the basis of what she says in this video. So watch and listen carefully and ask yourself . . . who are the real “fascists” here?

(Subtitles by A Friend and R J Tucker, with editorial input by Kladderadatsch.)

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