Italy Asks Jewish Leader to Pay Nazi's Court Fees

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A Jewish community leader and a journalist have been asked to pay Italian court fees after winning a case against a convicted Nazi war criminal, local media reported Wednesday.

While former SS captain Erich Priebke, 99, lost his libel case, he does not officially have any income or property. The Equitalia tax collecting agency told the two defendants to pay a levy of more than 300 euros (394 dollars) for the registration of the ruling.  

According to Italian law, if the losing party cannot pay, then "all parties involved should be asked to pay the tax."

Priebke sued Rome Jewish community leader Riccardo Pacifici and RAI state television reporter Valter Vecellio in 1996, when they protested an Italian military court's decision at the time not to prosecute him for war crimes.

He was extradited from Argentina to stand trial in Italy for his role in the 1944 Fosse Ardeatine massacre, in which German soldiers executed 335 Italian men and boys in a cave on the outskirts of Rome.

The case was reopened after a public outcry and Priebke was sentenced to life imprisonment - but granted house arrest because of his advanced age.

Pacifici has said he will not pay the fee, La Repubblica reported. Vecellio told RAI he would comply with the law, but said the case was "offensive," and called for more checks to be run on Priebke to see if he really has no means to pay.

Riccardo Pacifici, president of Rome's Jewish community.Credit: Haaretz

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