Holocaust denier Horst Mahler has been arrested in Hungary after he fled an 11-year prison sentence in Germany.

The 81-year-old Third Reich sympathiser was detained in the city of Sopron, in the west of the country, Hungarian police confirmed in a statement online.

The arrest followed an online announcement in which Mahler said that he had requested Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to grant him asylum as a "politically persecuted person", according to German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. He referred to Orban as "Führer", Adolf Hitler's title, and said that the Hungarian right-wing politician, whose tough stance on immigration has been criticised by Angela Merkel, would be sympathetic to his request.

"I trust in the freedom-loving Hungarian people and lay my fate in the hands of its government," he wrote in his statement.

He said that the "persecution" had been prompted by his publication of a book entitled 'The End of Wanderings – Thoughts on Gilad Atzmon and the Jewish people' which details the life of British-Israeli saxophonist Atzmon who has been accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.

Mahler was once a left-wing extremist and a founding member of the Red Army Faction, a terrorist group who carried out bombings, assassinations and bank robberies. In a dramatic shift, Mahler joined the extremist far-right National Democratic Party in 2000.

He was handed a six-year prison sentence in 2009 for repeatedly giving the Hitler salute, a punishable offense in Germany. He was also sentenced, by another court, for disputing the Holocaust and trivialising crimes committed by Nazis during the Second World War. He was released in 2015 after his leg required amputation due to a bad infection. He is believed to have fled to Germany in April 2017.