Italian court rejects Nazi's libel lawsuit

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BUENOS AIRES -- An Argentine researcher and journalist said he feels "a strong sense of relief" after a three-year battle in Italian courts ended with a Nazi war criminal's lawsuit against him being thrown out. Goni was referring to a Milan court's decision last month to reject a claim by convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, who had sued Goni and his Italian publisher for 50,000 euros -- more than $67,000 -- for libel. The court not only tossed out Priebke's claim as unfounded but assessed him legal costs of nearly $11,000.

"What's really important about this verdict is that historians and journalists can once again feel free to publish their findings," Goni said from his home in Buenos Aires...

Priebke was discovered in 1995 living in Bariloche, a city in Argentina's western Andes Mountains, by an ABC-TV team of reporter Sam Donaldson and producers Harry Phillips and Delilah Herbst.

He was deported to Italy, where he was found responsible for the deaths of 335 people in what has come to be known as the Ardeatine Caves Massacre. Priebke and a group of SS officers rounded up Jews and Italian partisans in Rome, led them to the caves outside the city, and shot and killed them with bullets to the back of the neck.

Priebke was given a life sentence, which he has been serving under house arrest in the home of his attorney, Borre. He has become an assiduous reader of articles about himself, and he and Borre have become infamous for their spate of lawsuits.

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