April 23, 2009
Coleman To Appeal
MINNEAPOLIS — Norm Coleman will appeal a three-judge panel’s ruling that former Saturday Night Live comedian Al Franken won Minnesota’s election for U.S. Senate. A lawyer for Republican Coleman said April 14 the incumbent senator will appeal the ruling to Minnesota’s Supreme Court. The panel ruled that Democrat Franken won a 312-vote victory and rejected Coleman’s arguments that errors or irregularities in the vote counting violated equal protection standards.
MANILA — A Jewish comedian from Australia had himself crucified in the Philippines on Good Friday for a new show. John Safran, 36, a TV personality in Australia known for staging outlandish stunts, was one of several people who chose to be nailed to a cross near Manila to symbolize Jesus’ suffering on Easter, AFP reported. Safran, a graduate of an Orthodox boys-only school in Melbourne, was naked from the waist up and wearing a long-haired wig, and was heard moaning as nails were hammered through his skin into the giant cross. Safran was rushed to a medical tent afterward. The stunt was for a show titled John Safran’s Race Relations, which Kim Dalton, director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, said was a “thoughtful and challenging exploration of cultural differences and convictions.”
CLEVELAND — Ex-Nazi guard John Demjanjuk returned to his home several hours after immigration agents removed him for deportation to Germany. An appeals court in Cincinnati blocked his deportation on April 14. Demjanjuk, 89, must now prove his deportation would amount to torture due to his many illnesses. Family members said they were caught unaware April 14 when agents carried the former death camp guard from his suburban Cleveland home. Germany wants him extradited on charges related to the deaths of 29,000 Jews. An Israeli court convicted him in 1988 of being the ruthless “Ivan the Terrible” at Treblinka. But Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed the charges and freed him in 1993 because he couldn’t be positively identified. That ruling upheld evidence he had been a guard at another death camp, Sobibor, but said he had served time for that crime waiting out the other charges. He returned to Cleveland and U.S. courts stripped him of his citizenship for lying about being a death camp guard.
Comic To Be Tried For Anti-Semitism
PARIS — A controversial French comedian will be prosecuted on charges of anti-Semitism.
Dieudonne Mbala Mbala will go on trial May 5 in Paris for bestowing a bogus prize on a notorious Holocaust denier, Robert Faurisson, in a Dec. 2 performance for an audience of 5,000 near Paris. If convicted, the 42-year-old comedian faces a maximum fine of nearly $30,000, the French news agency AFP reported.
Dieudonne, as he is known, has been barred from performing in most French cities since the December stand-up routine in which an actor dressed as a Jewish Nazi camp prisoner awarded Faurisson a prize for “unrespectability and insolence.”
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front political party who recently called Nazi gas chambers a historical “detail,” sat among thousands of spectators who cheered and laughed when Faurisson made his surprise stage debut alongside Dieudonne.
Dieudonne has announced his intention to run for the European Parliament on an “anti-Zionist” ticket that groups far left and far right political parties. The vote is slated for June 7. Dieudonne, who is black, has been charged with racism and anti-Semitism in the past, including in Quebec, for remarks comparing Jews to “slave traders” and belittling the Holocaust.