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Italian senator sentenced to prison for calling black colleague an ‘orangutan’

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Report. ‘I don’t remember word for word what I said,’ says Roberto Calderoli of the neo-fascist governing Lega party. The target of his hate, Cécile Kyenge, praised the sentence: ‘Racism has serious consequences.’

written by Adriana Pollice

Topic Italy


January 16, 2019

The Lega senator Roberto Calderoli has been convicted of defamation aggravated by racial hatred and sentenced to one year and six months in prison (suspended pending appeals) for having likened then-minister Cécile Kyenge to an orangutan at a rally in 2013. The Court of Bergamo recognized the aggravating circumstance of the racism of Calderoli’s remark, who at the time held the position of vice-president of the Senate, a position he still holds today.

Last July, Calderoli, one of the top leaders of the Lega, tried to defend himself in court saying: “I don’t remember word for word what I said, but my intent was a political criticism against the Letta government, also aimed at some amusement for those present, in light-hearted tones. I never used the word ‘orangutan,’ but ‘orangutans,’ ​​referring to the whole government. I meant to say that they were clumsy just like bulls in a china shop. If I had used this other metaphor instead, we would not be in this courtroom.”

However, this attempted excuse is clearly belied by the audio recording of the........

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