Probe opens into ‘kill Kyenge’ Facebook post

A man in northern Italy is being formally investigated after he posted a message on Facebook threatening to kill Italy’s integration minister, Cécile Kyenge.

Probe opens into 'kill Kyenge' Facebook post
Italy's Integration minister Cecile Kyenge has faced a barrage of racial abuse since she took office in April. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/Flickr

Vittorio Milani, a 50-year-old man from the town of Preganziol, in the northern Italian region of Veneto, caused uproar when he posted a message on Facebook earlier this month in which he urged someone to kill Italy’s integration minister Cécile Kyenge. 

“Kyenge says that if we want to get rid of the burqa then nuns must also take off their veils. This is absurd, someone kill this stupid, worthless whore,” the post read.

The post was reported by local councillor Antonella Tocchetto, who claims to have received insults from Milani.

“I found a few messages sent by Milani on my Facebook page full of abuse and insults which were also of a sexual nature.”

While the comment is no longer publicly visible on Milani’s Facebook page, a screenshot of the comment has been widely published by the Italian media.

Milani, who is a member of separatist group Veneto State, defended himself at the time, saying: “It’s no worse than what thousands of other people write on Facebook, reflecting the impotence that we have when faced with a government that does not represent us and even goes against us”.

He added that he was sorry and would like to meet Kyenge.

“Vittorio Milani felt like the monster splashed across the front page,” the website Leggo quoted Milani’s lawyer Francesco Burighel as saying.

Despite the apology, Milani now faces a formal investigation.

Kyenge, who is Italy’s first black minister, has faced a barrage of abuse since she came to office.

In July, a councillor was found guilty of inciting racial violence for a Facebook post calling for the rape of Kyenge. Dolores Valandro was given a 13-month suspended sentence, a €13,000 fine and a three-year ban from public office.

In the same month the minister had bananas thrown at her at a political rally and Roberto Calderoli, a senator from Italy's anti-immigration Northern League, caused outrage when he said that the minister resembled an orangutan.

Despite calls for his resignation from Prime Minister Enrico Letta, the senator kept his post but faced investigation for defamation.

More recently on Monday, a minister for Italy’s far-right Northern League has come under fire for saying that Kyenge should “go and be a minister in Egypt”, after she suggested the crisis in Egypt might bring an increase in immigration to Italy.

Meanwhile, the Italo-Congolese politician is currently trying to overhaul the immigration law to ensure children born in Italy can gain citizenship.

On Wednesday Italian football player Mario Balotelli, who was born to Ghanaian parents and raised by Italian foster parents, made it to the cover of US magazine Sports Illustrated, taking the opportunity to criticize Italy’s “stupid” citizenship law.

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