Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018
ROME

'Capacity for delinquency' behind Sallusti libel sentence

English
© ANSA

Rome, October 23 - The Supreme Court of Cassation
on Tuesday said the ''pronounced capacity for delinquency''
shown by journalist Alessandro Sallusti was behind its decision
to uphold an earlier libel conviction and sentence him to 14
months in jail.
In September Italy's highest appeal court confirmed the
verdict handed down to Sallusti by a Milan court in 2011 for
printing libellous remarks made by an anonymous reader about
Italian judge Giuseppe Cocilovo in 'Libero', the right-wing
paper he edited in 2007.
The comments concerned the decision by Cocilovo to grant a
13-year-old the right to have an abortion.
''If there were the death penalty, and if it were ever
applicable in a situation, this would be the case. For the
parents, the gynecologist and the judge,'' wrote the anonymous
reader, who used the pseudonym 'Dreyfus'.
The Court of Cassation ruled that Sallusti was responsible
for the comment since the identity of the writer was unknown.
Renato Farina, the former deputy editor of 'Libero' and now
a deputy in ex Premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom
(PdL) party, subsequently admitted to penning the libellous
remarks.
''The trial documents paint a strongly negative picture of
the methods'' employed by Sallusti in his ''multiple
transgressive behaviour'' to the detriment not just of Cocilovo
but also of a minor and her adoptive parents, who had been
''slapped on the front page,'' the judges wrote in their
sentence.
The court decision has aroused freedom-of-expression
protests from Italian journalists of all leanings and prompted
Justice Minister Paola Severino and President Giorgio Napolitano
to agree to amending Italy's libel laws in accordance with EU
standards.
The changes would remove jail terms as possible sanctions
but raise fines - a move that has prompted Italian journalists
to voice concern that they would still be unduly deterred.

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