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Bishop convicted of denying Holocaust

Bishop Richard Williamson had asked the Swedish TV crew to not broadcast his remarks in Germany, his lawyer said. Bishop Richard Williamson had asked the Swedish TV crew to not broadcast his remarks in Germany, his lawyer said. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press/File)
Associated Press / April 17, 2010

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BERLIN — A German court convicted ultraconservative British Bishop Richard Williamson yesterday of denying the Holocaust in a television interview.

A court in the Bavarian city of Regensburg found Williamson guilty of incitement for saying in a 2008 interview with Swedish television that he did not believe Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.

The court ordered Williamson to pay a fine of $13,544.

The Roman Catholic bishop was barred by his order from attending yesterday’s proceedings or making statements to the media.

His lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, said after the court ruling that Williamson has yet to decide whether he would appeal.

Denying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Germany.

The court ordered a fine of $16,195 for Williamson last year, without a trial. But the bishop appealed, forcing his case to be tried publicly. Lossmann said that Williamson had explicitly asked the Swedish television crew conducting the interview not to broadcast it in Germany.

In issuing her ruling, Judge Karin Frahm said the bishop could not have expected that the clip would show up on YouTube and be seen directly in Germany, and that led her to reduce the fine, court spokesman Bernhard Schneider told the AP.

The journalists who conducted the interview ignored a court order to attend the trial, Lossmann said, leaving the judge to rely on written statements as testimony.