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Native leader's hate crimes trial comes to an end

The hate crimes trial of a Native leader who made anti-Semitic remarks ended on Thursday with an apology and a defense for the controversial comments.

David Ahenakew, a former chief of the Assembly of First Nations and former head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, said he was "sorry for what he said" about Jewish people, Hitler and the Holocaust. "I just feel so sad about this whole thing, I really do, and there is nothing I can do but to say it's not going to happen again," he said on the stand, according to CTV.

Ahenakew blamed his outburst on diabetes and a glass of wine he drank the night before he made his remarks that were widely publicized by the media. "I was feeling tired. I don't know how to describe it, but I wasn't ready,'' he testified, according to CTV.

Yet he appeared defiant as the trial wrapped up, the Canadian Press reported. He said Canada should be on trial for its treatment of Native people.

"I'm a holocaust victim," Ahenakew reportedly shouted. "We lost over 100 million people over the last 500 years."

Ahenakew was charged under Canada's hate crimes statute and faces up to six months in jail. A decision is expected on June 10.

Get the Story:
Ahenakew hate crime trial ends (CBC 4/7)
Ahenakew hate crime trial ends (CBC 4/7)
'I'm sorry for what I said,' Ahenakew testifies (CTV 4/7)
Ahenakew: 'I am a holocaust victim' (The Globe and Mail 4/8)
Ahenakew says Canadians should be put on trial for treatment of aboriginals (CP 4/8)
Ex-leader explains hate remarks (CP 4/8)

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