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CRIME

Italy just made it easier to claim self-defence if you hurt or kill an intruder

The Italian senate on Thursday signed into law a widened definition of legitimate self-defence, in line with a manifesto promise by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Italy just made it easier to claim self-defence if you hurt or kill an intruder
Guns on display at an international arms show in Brescia, northern Italy. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“It's a very beautiful day — finally, Italians' sacrosanct right to legitimate self-defence has been confirmed,” said Salvini, who also serves as deputy prime minister.

“From today, miscreants will know it will be more difficult to be a burglar in Italy — it will become a still more dangerous undertaking,” Salvini said after the senate passed the bill by 201 votes to 38.

The legislation, passed on its third reading, will limit legal action against persons who fire on an intruder.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about gun laws and ownership in Italy


Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Previously, the law had required proof that an intruder posed an immediate physical threat to the householder. The new law renders defence legitimate in a person's home against a perceived threat of violence from someone trespassing on their property.

The law also offers free legal aid and defence counsel costs for those who kill or injure an intruder, then claim legitimate self-defence. In addition it toughens sentences for theft, burglary and shoplifting, while making release from custody in such cases conditional on payment of damages.

READ ALSO: 

Salvini's populist League party, in a coalition government formed last year with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, campaigned on behalf of individuals and traders facing justice for killing unarmed burglars.

Magistrates, however, have warned the new law could have dangerous effects, “reducing magistrates' scope for interpretation” of such cases.

“It is important to remember that… even with this new law, penal proceedings will be opened and investigations will be undertaken,” Francesco Minisci, president of Italy's National Association of Magistrates (ANM), said in a statement. 

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BOLOGNA

Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.

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