12 Aug 2009

Former Nazi commander sentenced for Italy killings

10:28 am on 12 August 2009

A German court has sentenced a former Nazi army commander to life in prison on Tuesday for murdering 10 Italian civilians and attempting to kill another in Tuscany in 1944.

After a trial lasting 11 months, the court in Munich found Josef Scheungraber, 90, guilty of ordering the murder of the civilians in Falzano di Cortona, near the Tuscan town of Arezzo, as a reprisal for attacks by Italian partisans.

Four civilians, including a woman, 74, were shot dead in the street before German soldiers rounded up a further 11 people and herded them into a house and blew it up.

Ten of the 11 died, but a boy, Gino Massetti, 15, survived with serious injuries. He gave evidence at the trial.

Scheungraber had denied the charges and said he handed over the individuals in question to the military police.

The case is one of Germany's last Nazi trials arising from World War II.

Scheungraber was previously convicted in absentia to life in prison on 28 September, 2006 by a military tribunal in La Spezia for his part in the Falzano di Cortona massacre.