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Talks on for war criminal`s burial in Germany

IANS | Last Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 18:23

Rome: As Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke`s body remained at a military airport outside the Italian capital Thursday, his lawyer told AKI he was in talks with German diplomats over burial in his homeland.

"Priebke`s family asked me to make contact with the German embassy to see if his body could be transferred to Germany for burial," said lawyer Paolo Giachini.

"The consul has told me that Priebke has every right to be buried in his home country but there are some administrative issues that need to be overcome."

An unnamed source at the German embassy in Rome confirmed to AKI that diplomats were negotiating with Giachini over the burial.

Since his death in Rome last week under house arrest at the age of 100, Priebke has been at the centre of a controversy.

The Vatican banned a funeral in any church in Rome and the city`s mayor refused to allow him to be buried there amid fears his grave would become a neo-Nazi shrine.

Argentina, where he lived for nearly 50 years after the war and authorities in Priebke`s hometown of Henningdorf, northwest of Berlin, were unwilling to bury him.

His funeral in a town outside Rome organised by priests from an ultra-traditionalist Catholic splinter group was halted after street riots.

Giachini told AKI that an unnamed individual had contacted him via his lawyer to say he would like to bury Priebke in a cemetery in Italy.

"We (are) trying to gather if the local authorities will agree to this," Giachini said.

A Nazi SS captain, Priebke was in 1998 convicted by a military court in Rome over the 1944 killings of 335 men and boys including 75 Jews in Italy`s worst World War II atrocity.

The Ardeatine Caves massacre March 24, 1944, was thought to have been ordered by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in revenge for the killing by Italian resistance fighters of 33 German soldiers in a bomb attack in Rome a day earlier.

First Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 18:23

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