Twice-excommunicated bishop loses appeal of hate speech conviction

Catholic News Agency | 2/1/2019 | Staff
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Strasbourg, France, Feb 1, 2019 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- Richard Williamson has lost an appeal against his 2010 conviction for inciting hatred. His appeal was rejected January 31 by the European Court of Human Rights.

The disgraced bishop, who has been excommunicated by the Vatican on two separate occasions, was convicted of incitement to hatred for his comments amounting to Holocaust denial during a television interview that aired in Sweden in January 2009.

Interview - Williamson - Millions - Jews - Nazi

In the interview, Williamson denied that millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime, and said that he did not believe gas chambers were used in the concentration camps.

"I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler,” Williamson said on camera. He went on to suggest that the number of people killed was far lower.

Williamson - History - Remarks

It later emerged that Williamson had a history of anti-Semitic remarks.

Since the Second Vatican Council, popes have routinely and regularly condemned anti-Semitism.

November - Pope - Francis - Anti-Semitism - Community

Most recently, in November 2018, Pope Francis said that “we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community,” and said that it was important to remember the Holocaust “to teach us to avoid the same errors.”

“A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite, we share the same roots,” said Pope Francis in November, 2018.

Germany - Interview - Holocaust - Denial - Offence

In Germany, where the interview was recorded in 2008, Holocaust denial is a criminal offence. Williamson’s lawyers argued that he should not have been convicted as the interview only aired in Sweden, which does not have a Holocaust denial law.

The Strasbourg-based ECHR concluded that Williamson knew that he was breaking German law at the time and did not attempt to limit the interview to Swedish airwaves alone.

Bishop - Fine

The disgraced bishop was initially sentenced to a fine of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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