Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Ruby wants her day in court


Genoa, April 3 - The young Moroccan woman known as
'Ruby' at the centre of a sex scandal that has put Italian
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on trial said on Wednesday she will
stage a protest in front of the Milan court where hearings have
been taking place to make her voice heard.
Karima El Mahroug, who will arrive in front of the
courthouse Thursday at 10:30 am Italian time, told ANSA that she
wants "to protest not being heard during hearings" that carry
her name.
"I don't understand the reason and I intend to say so
publicly," El Mahroug said.
The former nightclub dancer and alleged prostitute accused
of selling sex to Berlusconi failed to show up to testify when
called in December.
Her lawyer told presiding judges that her client was
vacationing abroad with her partner and child and would be
available to testify in January.
In January, El Mahroug appeared in the Milan court, but in
a surprise move judges upheld a request by the defence to not
demand her testimony.
Instead the judges agreed to rely on statements El Mahroug
made to investigators in the case.
In March, judges in Milan suspended Berlusconi's trial
until April 22 while the supreme Cassation Court considers a
ruling on a motion to move the case to a court in Brescia on
alleged grounds of biased judges.
Both Berlusconi and El Mahroug have denied having sex
during one of the ex-premier's so-called Bunga Bunga parties
while she was underage.
Berlusconi's lawyers have also asked for the ex-premier's
appeals trial in Milan, which regards a four-year conviction
for tax fraud on film rights involving his Mediaset television
empire, to be moved to Brescia on the same grounds of alleged
judicial bias.
If claims of judicial bias are upheld in Italy, trials are
moved to the nearest big city.
Brescia is 82 km (51 miles) east of Milan.
Ruby's planned demonstration would not be the first
surrounding Berlusconi's trials.
The three-time premier's People of Freedom (PdL) party
staged a controversial demonstration inside the Milan courthouse
last month and say they are planning another one to support
claims the alleged campaign of persecution has been stepped up
after Italy's recent general election.
The protest came after judges ordered a second medical
check for the centre-right leader, who said an eye condition and
high blood pressure that left him hospitalized made it
impossible to appear in court.
A recent poll said a third of Italians agree with the media
tycoon's claim that allegedly left-wing magistrates have been
trying to hound him out of politics since he became premier in
Berlusconi has insisted he will not meet the same fate as
his one-time sponsor and personal friend, late premier Bettino
Craxi, who was driven from power by anti-corruption probes and
died in self-imposed exile in Tunisia in 2000.
The centre-right leader, whose burgeoning TV empire was
shielded by Craxi in the 1980s, has accused Milanese magistrates
of trying to bring him down as they did his controversial
As well as the Ruby and Mediaset trials, Berlusconi is
under investigation on suspicion of bribing former Senator
Sergio De Gregorio to switch parties in 2006, a move which
destabilized the centre-left government and hastened its
collapse in 2008.
In another case, a Milan judge on March 7 sentenced him to
a one-year jail term for involvement in the publication by his
family newspaper Il Giornale of an illegally obtained wiretap
concerning Italian insurance company Unipol's almost-successful
bid to buy Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in 2005.
The wiretap severely embarrassed then centre-left leader
Piero Fassino.
Berlusconi is appealing the ruling.

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