Holocaust-denier Williamson "will fight any German extradition"
Mar 1, 2009, 10:22 GMT
London - British bishop Richard Williamson is to fight with all legal means any extradition request from Germany over remarks he made in that country denying the Holocaust, it was reported Sunday.
The Sunday Telegraph newspaper quoted his lawyer Kevin Lowry- Mullins as saying this after German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries told journalists last week that Berlin could demand Williamson's extradition to face court proceedings for Holocaust denial.
The lawyer, who according to the Sunday Telegraph had already represented another Holocaust denier, was quoted as saying Williamson would fight any extradition request right to the final instance of appeal, Britain's House of Lords.
Denial of the Holocaust is a crime in Germany, but not in Britain, to where Williamson returned last week after being expelled from Argentina.
Zypries, in remarks to reports in Brussels, had said Friday that 'in principle, the offence falls under the rules of the European Arrest Warrant. That means that Germany could indeed issue such a warrant.'
This was because an interview in which Williamson questioned the scale of the Holocaust, broadcast in Sweden, was recorded in Germany, giving the German courts jurisdiction, she said. The bishop is already under investigation in Germany for his comments.
Williamson, who has been residing at an undisclosed location in Britain after his expulsion from Argentina on Wednesday, later published a statement on the website of the British arm of the ultra- conservative Society of Saint Pius X expressing 'regrets' about the 'harm and hurt' which his Holocaust denial remarks had caused.
Williamson said Pope Benedict XVI had requested that he reconsider the remarks made on Swedish television four months ago, 'because their consequences have been so heavy.'
'Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.'
In the Swedish television interview, Williamson, 68, had challenged the figure of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust and said he believed that the figure was 'up to 300,000' Jews killed, and that 'I believe there were no gas chambers during World War II.'
But as with the original remarks, his new statement published Friday only served to raise further controversy.
In an initial reaction from Rome, the Vatican dismissed the new statement as falling short of what the pope had demanded. Holy See chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the apology 'does not seem to respect the terms' set by the Vatican.
Lombardi described the statement as 'generic and equivocal,' contrasting it to a request made by the Vatican to Williamson that he 'clearly and publicly distance himself' from his remarks on the Holocaust.