ROME (Reuters) - A local Italian politician who called for Italy’s first black minister, the target of repeated racial slurs, to be raped was given a 13-month suspended sentence and banned from public office for three years on Wednesday.
A Padua court found Dolores Valandro, a local councilor for regionalist party the Northern League, guilty of instigating sexual violence for racial reasons for her June Facebook post about Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge.
“Why doesn’t anyone rape her, that way she will understand the experience of the victim of this bloody crime? Shame!” Valandro wrote last month above a photo of Kyenge and an article from an anti-immigrant website about an attempted rape by an African.
The regionalist Northern League party expelled Valandro for the post.
The public office ban does not come into effect until two appeals allowed by Italian law are exhausted, while the one-year-one-month sentence - towards the minimum for a crime that carries a penalty of between one and four years - means Valandro will not go to jail unless she re-offends.
Separately, prosecutors in Bergamo have opened a case file on senior Northern League Senator Roberto Calderoli on suspicion of racially-aggravated defamation after he said Kyenge looked like an orangutan, judicial sources said on Wednesday.
Kyenge, an eye doctor and Italian citizen who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has become a lightning rod for racist remarks since her appointment as Italy’s first black minister in April, sparking debate in a country struggling to adapt to an increase in immigration over the last two decades.
Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Michael Roddy