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German court upholds Holocaust-denying bishop’s conviction

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(JTA) — A German court upheld the Holocaust denial conviction of a Catholic bishop from a breakaway sect, but lowered his fine.

The Regensburg Appeals Court on Monday lowered the fine for Richard Williamson of the Society of Saint Pius X by several thousand dollars to about $9,000, citing the bishop’s financial circumstances, according to reports. German prosecutors had wanted the fine to be increased.

Williamson was found guilty last year of Holocaust denial in a German district court.

Monday’s decision can be further appealed.

Williamson, who is British and lives in London, was fined in connection with an interview in Regensburg in late 2008 with the Swedish SVT broadcaster in which he called the murder of Jews in gas chambers during the Holocaust "lies, lies, lies." He also allegedly denied that any Jews were murdered in gas chambers during the Holocaust and insisted that not more than 300,000 European Jews were killed in total.

Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany.

Williamson was one of four bishops rehabilitated by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2009 in hopes of healing a rift between conservative and progressive Catholics. The pope said later that he would not have rehabilitated Williamson if he had been aware of his far-right views.
 

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