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Pope escapes German seat belt fine

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Pope escapes German seat belt fine
Photo: DPA
07:55 CET+01:00
Pope Benedict XVI will not face charges for not wearing a seat belt in his popemobile during a visit to Germany, after officials confirmed normal traffic rules had been suspended for him.

A Freiburg city spokeswoman said roads had been closed during Pope Benedict's visit in September, when he was driven through crowds in the special vehicle - without a seat belt.

She told the Südkurier newspaper that normal traffic rules had been suspended for the visit as roads the pope used were blocked to public traffic.

Johannes Christian Sundermann, an attorney from North Rhine-Westphalia, had filed a formal complaint on behalf of a Dortmund man against the pope last week, charging that he had failed to buckle up several times during his Freiburg visit.

He had threatened to call several prominent figures as witnesses, including the archbishop of Freiburg.

The attorney had said his client was simply interested in raising awareness about traffic safety, not haranguing the pope.

If the charges had been pressed, Benedict XVI could have been fined between €30 and €2,500, although it is not clear whether diplomatic immunity as head of state of the Vatican would have allowed him to skirt the fine.

The Local/mdm

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