Rome: The family of late Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke has alleged that his body was stolen early Wednesday and taken to an undisclosed location, according to his lawyer.
"Priebke`s family has asked me to investigate where his body is currently located. What we know is that overnight Tuesday, four people guarding his coffin were beaten and his corpse was stolen. We don`t know where it was taken," lawyer Paolo Giachini said.
The claims were denied by sources contacted by AKI who said Priebke`s body was still at Pratica di Mare military airport near Rome.
Priebke has been at the centre of a furore since his death under house arrest in Rome last week at the age of 100.
Argentina, where he lived for nearly 50 years, refused to allow his burial there, and officials in his hometown in Germany, also demurred.
The Vatican banned a funeral in any of Rome`s churches and the city`s mayor refused to allow him to be buried there amid fears his grave would become a neo-Nazi shrine.
After his death, neo-Nazi graffiti "honouring" Priebke appeared on the wall of the apartment building in Rome`s Aurelio district and elsewhere in Italy and wreaths of flowers were laid outside.
Priebke was in 1998 convicted by a military court in Rome over the 1944 killings of 335 men and boys, which included 75 Jews - Italy`s worst World War II atrocity. He never repented his crimes and denied that Jews died in gas chambers.