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German court fines Holocaust-denying bishop

WORLD
By | October 28th 2009

BERLIN, Oct 27

A German court has fined traditionalist bishop Richard Williamson12,000 euros ($17,860) for incitement because he publicly denied the Holocaust, a spokesman for a Nuremberg court said on Tuesday.

The Bavarian court had on Monday approved a request from state prosecutors in Regensburg for the fine but British-born Williamson has two weeks to contest the ruling.

"If he decides not to accept it, there will be a hearing," said the court spokesman, adding there was as yet no indication of Williamson's intentions.

Denying the Holocaust is classified as a hate crime in Germany.

The court decision coincided with the start of talks between Vatican officials and leaders of ultra-traditionalist Catholic splinter group, the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) of which Williamson is a member.

The Pope caused outrage among Jewish groups in January when he lifted the bans on four SSPX bishops at about the same time that Williamson denied Jews had died in Nazi gas chambers.

SSPX, which opposes the way the Catholic Church has evolved over the last 40 years, rejects the Second Vatican Council's decision to stop calling Jews killers of Jesus Christ and to seek good ties with Protestants, Jews, Muslims and other faiths.

The talks, which started on Monday and will take place at regular intervals, aim to mend fences between the Vatican and SSPX.

Williamson had said he believed no more than 300,000 Jews perished in the Holocaust and that there were no gas chambers. Nazis killed six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Some German media have reported that Williamson will fight the fine.

-Reuters

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