Bishop to appeal Holocaust denial fine


BERLIN (JTA) – A Catholic bishop from a breakaway sect will appeal his fine for Holocaust denial.

Richard Williamson of the Society of Saint Pius X was found guilty last Friday of Holocaust denial in a German district court. The Regensburg court upheld a fine of $22,473 imposed in 2009.

The German television station ARD reported that Williamson’s lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, left it open as to whether the appeal would be based on errors in the proceedings or new evidence.

The Pius society banned Williamson from speaking at his trial. He was not required by law to be present.

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 all.

Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany.

ARD also reported on connections between the Pius society and the far-right scene in Germany.

Williamson is one of four bishops rehabilitated by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2009 in hopes of healing a rift between conservative and progressive Catholics.

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