Italy - Nazi War Criminal Convicted of Killing 335 Jews Allowed Out On Shopping Trips
Italy - A convicted Nazi war criminal serving a life sentence for the massacre of hundreds of civilians outside Rome during the Second World War has been allowed out on shopping trips, sparking anger in Italy.
Erich Priebke, 97, a former captain in the SS, is serving the sentence under house arrest near Rome for his part in the murder of 335 Jews, partisans and prisoners of war in March 1944 at the Ardeatine Caves, on the outskirts of the city. He was extradited to Italy in 1995 after being found working as a teacher in Argentina.
The massacre was ordered by Hitler as a reprisal for a bomb attack carried out by partisans on a German patrol the previous day in central Rome.
After images appeared on YouTube showing Priebke shopping in a supermarket, his lawyer confirmed that the former SS officer had been regularly venturing out of his home for the last year.
He was given permission to carry out “essential errands” by the same military tribunal in Rome that found him guilty of war crimes and sentenced him to life imprisonment in 1998.
He now has to give local police 36 hours’ notice if he wants to leave his home and is accompanied by officers at all times, even in church when he attends Mass.
A member of the former Nazi’s legal team, Giosuè Bruno Naso, told Corriere della Sera that “not even in Communist China are there prisoners as old as him.”
But the show of clemency was criticised by Jewish groups.
Riccardo Pacifici, the head of the Jewish community in Rome, condemned what he called “a ridiculous farce with regards to the application of law in our country”.
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