(JTA) – Italian tax collectors ordered the president of Rome’s Jewish community and a TV reporter to pay the court fees of convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke.
“I won’t pay,” Jewish Community President Riccardo Pacifici told Italian media. Under Italian law, “all parties involved” must pay the fees to register the sentence if the guilty party is judged to have no assets.
Pacifici and reporter Walter Vecellio recently received a bill from the state tax collection agency for about $345, according to reports. Priebke lost a lawsuit against them in 1996.
Priebke, 99, a former SS captain, is serving a life sentence under house arrest for his role in the 1944 massacre of 335 Romans, including about 75 Jews, in the Ardeatine Caves south of Rome.
His suit against Pacifici and Vecellio stemmed from the clashes that erupted following his initial trial in 1996, the year after he was tracked down in Argentina and extradited to Italy. A Rome military court convicted Priebke but freed him because of extenuating circumstances.
Scores of protesters, many of them militant young Jews, battled with police and tried to storm the courthouse. After eight hours, Italy’s justice minister ordered Priebke rearrested. He was retried in 1998 and sentenced to his life term.