In a letter, the 23 lawyers asked judge Pasquale Maoiran where the original crucifixes are and said they were prepared to donate new ones if the old ones could not be found, La Repubblica reported.
Their battle comes four years after Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that crucifixes were allowed in courtrooms, after a Jewish judge refused to serve in one adorned by the symbol. Luigi Tosti was handed a suspended seven month sentence and banned from public office for a year, a move that sparked controversy and strikes across the country.
The Ferrara call to have them reinstated was initiated by lawyer Silvia Vayra. The Local was unable to reach her for comment.
But Piero Giubelli, the president of the order of lawyers of Ferrara, told The Local that while he is against the display of religious symbols in public offices, the law states that they can’t be removed without prior warning.
A spokesperson for the court was unavailable for comment.
Although the church and state were officially separated by the constitution in 1984, the presence of crosses in public places is not considered a breach to the secularity of the state.
In 2011, the European Court of Human Rights also overturned a 2009 ruling banning the religious symbol from state-run schools following an intervention from the Italian government.
But the presence of the crucifix in schools still provokes antagonism. A teacher at a school in Perugia was suspended for a month after removing it from the walls, the news agency AGI reported on Thursday. The local education authority argued he had “violated” his duties as a teacher.
By Anna Pujol-Mazzini