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German WWII officer cleared on appeal of Italian killings

14th March 2009, Comments0 comments

The Wehrmacht major, had been tried in his absence for the killing of the civilians on August 18, 1944 in the central Italian village of Grotta di Maona.

Rome -- A 94-year-old former German army officer sentenced to life in prison by an Italian military court for the deaths of four Italian civilians in August 1944 has been cleared on appeal, his lawyer said Friday.

Francesco Coran told the ANSA news agency that the military appeal court in Rome had quashed the sentence handed down against Hans Dietrich Michelsen, who was tried in his absence by a military tribunal in La Spezia in February last year.

Michelsen, then a 29-year-old Wehrmacht major, had been tried in his absence for the killing of the civilians on August 18, 1944 in the central Italian village of Grotta di Maona.

Michelsen, who according to ANSA was still living in his hometown in Germany at the time of his trial, had allegedly accused the four Italians of sending light signals to resistance fighters from their homes, and ordered their execution.

AFP/Expatica

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