Auschwitz or museum trip for Hungary Holocaust denier

The first Hungarian convicted under a new Holocaust denial law has been given a suspended 18-month jail sentence and has to visit Budapest's memorial museum, Auschwitz or Yad Vashem, the court said Friday.

In addition to visiting Budapest's Holocaust Memorial Centre three times, Gyorgy Nagy has to write down his thoughts. Alternatively he can go to the Auschwitz former death camp in Poland or the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem.

The sentence, which also bans the unemployed computer technician from attending political rallies or events, is the first conviction since a new law came into force in 2010.

Attending a political rally in Budapest in 2011, the 42 year-old held up a banner with the Hebrew-language inscription: "The Shoah did not happen".

The banner was visible for around 15 minutes before Nagy was detained by police, weekly newspaper HVG reported.

The denial of genocide committed by the Nazi regime was declared a crime punishable by a maximum three-year prison sentence by the Hungarian parliament in February 2010.

Later in 2010, the denial of crimes against humanity committed during Hungary's communist era was also declared a crime by the incoming right-wing government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party.

Orban has however been accused of pandering to nationalists and of stoking anti-Semitism, amid renewed tributes to Hungary's wartime leader Miklos Horthy, an ally of Adolf Hitler, and the rehabilitation of some anti-Semitic writers.

In 2012, Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel returned Hungary's highest state honour because of what he called a "whitewashing" of history in the European Union member state.