Life sentences for three former SS officers upheld

8th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 November 2007, Rome - Italy's top appeals court, the Cassation, on Thursday upheld life imprisonment sentences for three former Nazi soldiers involved in a World War II massacre of Italian civilians.

8 November 2007

Rome - Italy's top appeals court, the Cassation, on Thursday upheld life imprisonment sentences for three former Nazi soldiers involved in a World War II massacre of Italian civilians.

The court threw out a prosecutor's request for a new trial upholding a 2006 sentence against Gerhard Sommer, Georg Rauch and Karl Gropler.

The three men who live in Germany and have refused to attend court proceedings, were first sentenced to life by a military court in 2005.

Italy's legal system allows both defendants and prosecutors two opportunities to appeal against court rulings and Thursday's decision by the Cassation represents the final ruling in the case.

The three were convicted of having taken part in the killing by the SS of an estimated 560 civilians in the Tuscan village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema in August 1944.

According to survivors some 300 SS troops surrounded the village, rounded up people and began shooting them. Others were herded together and killed with hand grenades.

"I'm shocked but in a positive sense," the village's Mayor Michele Silicani was quoted as saying by Adnkronos news agency following Thursday's ruling.

"This decision allows me to return to my village and to look at the future with greater hope," he added.

The Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre is believed to be one of the worst World War II Nazi atrocities in central and northern Italy where some of the local population rose up to form partisan groups.

DPA

Subject: German news

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