Italian Appeals Court Upholds Decision against Racist Political Party

19 June 2007

According to information provided to the ERRC by the Italian organisation OsservAzione, on 30 January 2007 an appeals court in Italy confirmed the finding of the Civil and Penal Court of Verona in a case against members of the Lega Nord, a far-right Italian political party, involving six Italian Sinti and the non-governmental organisation Opera Nomadi. The court however, reversed the finding of the lower instance court, striking instigation to racial hatred from the guilty finding.

The 2004 ruling by the Civil and Penal Court of Verona found Lega Nord members guilty of incitement to commit discriminatory acts on the basis of race or ethnicity under Law 205/93 "Legge Mancino". The Lega Nord members were originally sentenced to two months in jail and were barred from participating in administrative and political elections, both suspended, and were ordered to pay trial and legal fees for the plaintiffs.

The case was filed in 2001 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". It is expected that the appeals court decision will be appealed to the higher level court.



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