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Outrage in Italy over house arrest conditions of a former Nazi SS captain

Wednesday, October 6th 2010 - 22:46 UTC
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Priebke shopping in his Roman neighborhood (Pic ANSA) Priebke shopping in his Roman neighborhood (Pic ANSA)

Jewish groups have expressed outrage that a former Nazi SS captain convicted for his role in the massacre of 335 civilians in Italy is allowed out from his house detention to go shopping or to church.

Erich Priebke, 97, a former captain in the SS, is serving the sentence under house arrest near Rome for his part in the murder of 335 Jews, partisans and prisoners of war in March 1944 at the Ardeatine Caves, on the outskirts of the city.

He was extradited to Italy in 1995 after being found working as a teacher in the city of Bariloche, Argentine Patagonia. Priebke lived in Argentina under his name and was a prominent figure of the Bariloche community.

The massacre was ordered by Hitler as a reprisal for a bomb attack carried out by partisans on a German patrol the previous day in central Rome.

He was given permission to carry out “essential errands” by the same military tribunal in Rome that found him guilty of war crimes and sentenced him to life imprisonment in 1998.

He now has to give local police 36 hours' notice if he wants to leave his home and is accompanied by officers at all times, even in church when he attends Mass.

A member of the former Nazi's legal team, Giosuè Bruno Naso, told Corriere della Sera that “not even in Communist China are there prisoners as old as him.”

But the show of clemency was criticized by Jewish groups.

Riccardo Pacifici, the head of the Jewish community in Rome, condemned what he called ”a ridiculous farce with regards to the application of law in our country”

Categories: Politics, International.

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