A bishop convicted of denying the Holocaust has skipped the start of his own appeal in a German court. Richard Williamson was convicted of sedition and fined for denying the Holocaust.
Williamson was excommunicated once, but the pope reinstated him
British bishop Richard Williamson was not present at the opening of his appeal on Monday in Germany.
Williamson, a member of the ultra-conservative Saint Pius X Society, was fined 10,000 euros ($14,000) last year by a Regensburg court for statements he made to a Swedish TV station denying the Holocaust.
His lawyer Edgar Weiler said that the interview, which was widely circulated over the Internet, was never intended to be seen by the German public.
Weiler said the appeals process did not concern the substance of the comments, but "exclusively the jurisdiction of the German judiciary and the issue of public utterance."
In the interview with Swedish TV at the beginning of last year, Williamson suggested that the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis was actually 200,000-300,000 - far lower than the six million historians say were killed. Williamson also suggested that "not one" of them was killed in a gas chamber.
Protest from Merkel
Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in Germany and Austria. Williamson had asked the Swedish station to ensure that the footage was never shown in Germany.
Williamson's views have caused problems for the Catholic Church. The January 2008 reversal of Williamson's excommunication by Pope Benedict XVI drew criticism from many, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who demanded that the pope "clarify unambiguously that there can be no denying" that the Nazis killed six million Jews.
Author: Sarah Harman (KNA, dpa)
Editor: Nancy Isenson
Bastian Schweinsteiger's goal after a fine solo run by Mitchell Weiser decide the game against Hertha. The win all but sealed Bayern's 25th league title, which will be confirmed should Wolfsburg not win on Sunday.
Mick Schumacher, the 16-year-old son of Michael Schumacher, has started his Formula 4 career strongly, finishing inside the top ten of his first race at this level.
Turkish President Erdogan has slammed the world leaders for recognizing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide. Erdogan said countries like Germany, France and Russia should first "clean their own stains."