German court tells holocaust denier he must face trial | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 10.11.2009

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German court tells holocaust denier he must face trial

A traditionalist bishop who was fined by a German court for denying the holocaust, is appealing the ruling. His decision means the case will now go to trial.

Richard Williamson

Holocaust denier: Richard Williamson

The British bishop, Richard Williamson, has denied the charges brought against him and has refused to pay the 12,000 euro ($18,000) fine imposed by the court in the German city of Regensburg.

As a consequence, the court has now summoned the bishop to stand trial, although a spokesman for the court said no date had yet been set.

Williamson, however, will not have to appear in person. He can instead opt to appoint a lawyer to act on his behalf.

The court ordered the ultra-conservative bishop, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X, to pay the fine after he claimed in an interview conducted in Germany that "not one Jew" had been killed in the gas chambers.

The interview, which was broadcast on Swedish television, showed the bishop saying "it was all lies, lies, lies". The public prosecutors say Williamson was trying to cause a furore in Germany, and is guilty of incitement to racial hatred.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to the interview by calling on Pope Benedict XVI to "clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial" of the fact that six million Jews died under the Nazi regime.

The traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X is a Catholic splinter group which sprung up in the 1960s following disagreements over supposedly liberal changes proposed by the Vatican. The Pope has recently started talks with the group aimed at mending fences.

It is against both German and Austrian law to deny the holocaust.


Editor: Susan Houlton

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