Holocaust denier Williamson fights incitement charges

Formerlly excommunicated

An ultraconservative British bishop rejected the idea that he should be subject to punishment in Germany for denying the Holocaust on Swedish television, saying he tried to prevent the interview from being broadcast here, according to a report Sunday by a German weekly. Richard Williamson was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying he tried to have an injunction issued to block the interview's release in Germany. "I tried to ... prevent my interview with Swedish television from being broadcast in Germany via the Internet," Williamson was quoted as saying. Prosecutors in the Bavarian city of Regensburg applied last week for an order of punishment against Williamson, accusing him of incitement. A judge is expected to rule on whether to issue a fine next week. Williamson's German lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, confirmed Sunday that the bishop had applied to a Nuremberg state court to issue an injunction, but said it was rejected in February. Lossmann said he had not yet received an order of punishment from the Regensburg court. An order of punishment is a German legal tool that involves no trial but, if accepted by the defendant, is equivalent to a conviction. The investigation of whether Williamson broke German laws against Holocaust denial was launched earlier this year after the interview was aired. In it, he said he didn't believe any Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II. The interview was conducted near Regensburg and was granted shortly before Williamson's excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI, along with that of three other bishops from the anti-modernization movement of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Benedict's lifting of Williamson's excommunication sparked outrage among Jewish groups and in Israel. The Vatican's handling of the affair prompted criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.