Saturday, 28 February 2009

Germany may arrest Holocaust row bishop

Germany is considering issuing an arrest warrant for Bishop Richard Williamson over his controversial claim that no Jews died in the gas chambers during the Second World War.

The 69-year-old British-born bishop made the comments during an interview with Swedish television last year at a seminary for the ultra-orthodox Society of Saint Pius X in the Bavarian village of Zaitzkoven, near Munich.

Under German law denial of the Holocaust is illegal and an investigation was launched by prosecutors after the interview was broadcast last month.

Germany's Justice Minister, Brigitte Zypries, confirmed yesterday that officials were considering issuing a European Union-wide arrest warrant for Dr Williamson, who flew into Britain earlier this week after being expelled from the Argentine seminary where he had been living for much of the past five years.

Mrs Zypries said that if an arrest warrant is issued, Britain would be obligated to arrest the renegade cleric and extradite him to Germany under a European set of guidelines introduced last year to toughen up anti-racism and hate crime laws. Although Britain has no specific laws against denying genocides, in Germany Holocaust denial is punishable with up to three years in prison and because the comments were made in Germany, Dr Williamson may be liable for prosecution. Read more
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