Italian in Europe’s Parliament Convicted of Defamation for Racial Insult

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ROME — An Italian member of the European Parliament has been found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay 50,000 euros, or $55,670, in damages to a fellow member of the European Union body, four years after he was accused of racially insulting her during a radio interview.

Mario Borghezio, of the anti-immigration Northern League, was convicted by a court in Milan on Thursday of comments founded on racial hatred against Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s former minister of integration. Mr. Borghezio was also fined 1,000 euros, in addition to the damages. The Parliament voted in October to lift Mr. Borghezio’s immunity.

Ms. Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, became Italy’s first black national minister in 2013 before being elected to the European Parliament. She said in response to the sentencing: “I’m satisfied, even though I don’t see this as a personal victory but as a strong response against racial hatred which poisons society. The sentence marks a line that can’t be crossed.”

During a radio interview in April 2013, Mr. Borghezio said that Ms. Kyenge wanted to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” on Italians. He described Ms. Kyenge, who was a member of Enrico Letta’s short-lived government, as “a good housewife, but not a government minister.”

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ROME — An Italian member of the European Parliament has been found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay 50,000 euros, or $55,670, in damages to a fellow member of the European Union body, four years after he was accused of racially insulting her during a radio interview.

Mario Borghezio, of the anti-immigration Northern League, was convicted by a court in Milan on Thursday of comments founded on racial hatred against Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s former minister of integration. Mr. Borghezio was also fined 1,000 euros, in addition to the damages. The Parliament voted in October to lift Mr. Borghezio’s immunity.

Ms. Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, became Italy’s first black national minister in 2013 before being elected to the European Parliament. She said in response to the sentencing: “I’m satisfied, even though I don’t see this as a personal victory but as a strong response against racial hatred which poisons society. The sentence marks a line that can’t be crossed.”

During a radio interview in April 2013, Mr. Borghezio said that Ms. Kyenge wanted to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” on Italians. He described Ms. Kyenge, who was a member of Enrico Letta’s short-lived government, as “a good housewife, but not a government minister.”

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