11 Aug 2009

Former Nazi commander jailed for killing Italians

10:08 pm on 11 August 2009

A former German infantry commander has been jailed for life for his role in the killing of 14 civilians in an Italian village during World War II.

A court in Munich found Josef Scheungraber guilty of ordering the killings, in what was one of the last Nazi crimes trials in Germany, the BBC reports.

Scheungraber, 90, had previously been sentenced in absentia by an Italian military court to life in prison.

The killings took place in Falzano di Cortona, in Tuscany, on 26 June 1944.

Scheungraber had always denied the charges, saying he handed the victims to the military police and did not know what happened to them.

His legal team had called for his acquittal due to contradictions in the testimony of witnesses 65 years after the events.

The case is one of Germany's last Nazi trials, alongside the forthcoming case of John Demjanjuk, a suspected death camp guard who was deported from the United States in May to face charges he helped to murder nearly 28,000 people during World War II.