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Priebke - Ex-Nazi gets work release in Italy
18 jun 2007
By FRANCESCO D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer

A former Nazi captain serving a life sentence for war crimes took a motorbike to his lawyer's office Monday on a work-release permit, outraging Jewish residents and prompting Italy's defense minister to summon a military prosecutor for an explanation.
Erich Priebke, 93, who was convicted for his role in the massacre of 335 Italian civilians in 1944, won permission last month to leave the Rome apartment where he is serving his sentence to work as a translator at his lawyer's office.

Priebke was photographed on the back of a motorbike being driven to the lawyer's office. Dozens of Jews demonstrated in the street outside the office, shouting "murderer" and holding signs reading "I don't forget, I don't forgive."

Defense Minister Arturo Parisi summoned a military prosecutor for an explanation following news reports about the incident. Hours later, a judge ordered the work permit suspended because Priebke failed to inform authorities when he was going to work and how, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

Priebke has been in prison or under house arrest since he was extradited to Italy in 1994 from Argentina, where had a been a school principal.

He was convicted of war crimes three years later for his role in the massacre at an abandoned quarry on the outskirts of Nazi-occupied Rome. The civilians were executed in retaliation for an attack by Italian resistance fighters that killed 33 members of a Nazi military police unit.

Priebke admitted shooting two people and helping round up the victims, but has always insisted he was just following orders.

Italian law affords benefits such as daytime work-release permits to convicts after 10 years in jail as a reward for good behavior.

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