Sallusti indicted in second libel case

Ex-newspaper editor accused of defaming military prosecutor

Sallusti indicted in second libel case

(ANSA) - Milan, September 27 - Alessandro Sallusti, the former editor of Italian daily Il Giornale sentenced to prison Wednesday for libel, was indicted Thursday in a separate libel case, accused of defaming a former military prosecutor in Padua. Journalist Barbara Romano and General Antonio Pappalardo were also indicted for comments in a 2007 interview for the right-wing Libero daily, where Sallusti was editor at the time. The trial, which is scheduled to commence December 5 in Milan, is centered around allegedly libelous remarks from the general about Maurizio Block, now a member of the military's superior council of judges. Defence attorneys representing Sallusti and Romano argue that publishing the statements was legal given that the general served in an institutional role, putting his comments in the public interest. In a separate case, Sallusti was sentenced Wednesday to 14 months in jail for libel, with the Cassation Court ruling that he was responsible for comments by an unknown contributor printed in Libero that defamed a judge. On Thursday columnist Renato Farina, a former Libero deputy editor and current MP in ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, confessed to writing the comments. Free-speech advocates have decried both cases because, among other reasons, Sallusti was not accused of actually writing any of the objectionable comments. President Giorgio Napolitano and Justice Minister Paola Severino on Thursday said they had agreed to amend the country's libel laws in accordance with EU standards.

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