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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.

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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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CRIME

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

Authorities in New York announced on Thursday the return to Italy of 14 more antiquities, worth an estimated €2.3 million, as part of an investigation into smuggling of stolen artifacts.

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been conducting an extensive investigation over the past two years into looted antiquities that have ended up in New York museums and galleries — including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During a ceremony on Thursday with the Italian consul general and Italian police representatives, 14 more artifacts – some 2,600 years old – were officially returned to Italy, bringing the total number of repatriated pieces to that country over the past seven months to 214, District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said.

READ ALSO: Italian ‘art squad’ police recover 800 illegally-excavated archaeological finds

More than 700 pieces worth more than $100 million have been returned in the past year to 17 countries, including Italy as well as Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Greece, the statement added.

New York, a hub of stolen antiquities trafficking for decades, set up a task force in 2017 to investigate the illicit trade.

According to the statement by District Attorney Bragg, who took office in January 2022, Thursday’s repatriation included the silver “Sicily Naxos Coin,” minted around 430 BCE and currently valued at half a million dollars.

Other notable items included ancient pottery dating to 510 BCE, and amarble head of Roman Emperor Hadrian, dating to 200 CE.

Among the culprits behind the 14 returned pieces, the statement said, were well-known art traffickers Giacomo Medici and Giovanni Franco Becchina, as well as Robert Hecht, the Paris-based American art dealer who died in 2012.

The traffickers had “relied on gangs of tombaroli (tomb raiders) to loot carefully chosen and insufficiently guarded archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean,” it added.

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