Italian Sinti Win Lawsuit Against Racist Political Party
11 March 2005
On December 2, 2004, in a case brought in 2001 involving six Italian Sinti men and women and the non-governmental organisation Opera Nomadi acting as plaintiffs, the Civil and Penal Court of Verona found six members of the right wing political party Lega Nord guilty of incitement to commit discriminatory acts on the basis of race or ethnicity, in accordance with Law 205/93 "Legge Mancino", according to Mr Lorenzo Monasta, an activist involved in Roma and Sinti issues in Italy. Mr Monasta informed the ERRC that six Lega Nord members – Flavio Tosi, regional and municipal councillor, Matteo Bragantini, provincial councillor responsible for the provincial cultural department, Luca Coletto, provincial councillor responsible for the provincial roads department, Enrico Corsi, provincial councillor and president of Verona's 8th Borough Council, Maurizio Filippi, councillor of Verona's 4th Corough Council and Barbara Tosi, councillor of Verona's 6th Borough Council – received sentences of 6-months imprisonment and 3-years prohibition from participation in political and administrative electoral campaigns, all suspended. The Lega Nord members were additionally ordered to pay legal expenses amounting to 12,000 Euro and trial costs for the plaintiffs, plus compensation of 5,000 Euro to each Sinti plaintiff and 10,000 Euro to Opera Nomadi.
The case was filed by the non-governmental organisations Osservatorio Veronese sulle Discriminazioni and Cesar K. following a racist public campaign to expel Roma and Sinti from Verona conducted by the Lega Nord entitled "For the Security of the Citizens – Expel the Gypsies from our Home". The presiding judge was to publish the decision within ninety days. As of February 24, 2005, the Lega Nord members had not appealed the decision. For further information on the human rights situation of Roma and Sinti in Italy, visit the ERRC's Internet website at http://errc.org, enter "Italy" into the "country" box of the search engine and click "enter".