Czech police detain former Ku Klux Klan leader on hate crime charge

Czech policePrague  - Czech police reported Friday detaining David Duke, former leader of US extremist group the Ku Klux Klan, on suspicion of denying the Holocaust in a book.

Duke arrived in Prague earlier this week at the invitation of local neo-Nazis to publicize the Czech translation of of 1998 memoir My Awakening.

Police have charged him with denying in the book that the systematic mass murder of Jews and other ethnic groups by Nazi Germany during World War II ever took place, a hate crime in the Czech Republic punishable by up to three years in prison, police spokesman Jan Mikulovsky told the German Press Agency dpa.

Duke was planning to give talks in the capital as well as in the country's second largest city of Brno.

Earlier this week Prague's Charles University banned Duke for giving a lecture on extremism. The university said it cancelled the talk out of a fear that it could have been attended by neo-Nazis.

Political activities of Czech far-right groups have been on a rise in recent months, including provocative marches through Roma ghettos in troubled Czech towns. (dpa)