Monday, February 20, 2006

Italian ex-Minister under investigation

Last week the Italian Minister for Reform, Roberto Calderoli, started a cartoon row of his own. Since then there have been several riot-related deaths in Libya:
At least 10 people have been killed and several injured in Libya in clashes during a protest outside an Italian consulate, according to police. Police confronted protesters who had set fire to the building in the port city of Benghazi, in the latest protests over the Muhammad cartoons. They were said to be angry at Italian minister Roberto Calderoli, who had worn a T-shirt displaying the drawings.
Over the weekend Calderoli was forced to resign from the government and his party faces consequences at the EU level.
Now he has been put under investigation for "defaming religion" by a prosecuting magistrate in Rome. According to Corriere della Sera (in Italian) he "only" faces a fine of between €1,000 and €5,000, because a reform that came into effect last month has eliminated prison (up to three years!) as a punishment for this type of defamation. This is the same absurd "crime" for which Oriana Fallaci and a Muslim communal leader were charged last year.
But there's more: according to this Reuters story (in Italian; see a rather artless story in English here), Calderoli has also been sued by lawyer Tommaso Mancini, for "hostile acts against a foreign State which put Italy at risk of war." Oh, Puh-leaze!
I have said before that the Italian judiciary is a farce (though the law needs changing too, in this case). Unsurprisingly, the Italian people have the lowest confidence in their judicial system in Europe. Even so, I am still amazed that we could stoop to this level.

No comments: