Rome

Berlusconi remembers Andreotti, 'victim of leftist attacks'

Seven-time premier 'overcame ordeal with dignity'

Berlusconi remembers Andreotti, 'victim of leftist attacks'

Rome, May 6 - Former premier Silvio Berlusconi remembered seven-time premier Giulio Andreotti who died Monday, calling him "a man of government who made Italian history" and a victim of "an unjust battle" waged by the Italian left. "The left carried out a battle against him unworthy of civil society, based on demonizing the adversary and judicial persecution - an ordeal that Andreotti overcame with dignity and composure," said the center-right leader. Berlusconi, who has long blamed allegedly leftist magistrates for his ongoing legal troubles, was among the most vocally outraged when Andreotti was given a 24-year jail term in 2002 for conspiracy to murder a muckraking journalist, Mino Pecorelli, in 1979. At the time Berlusconi described Andreotti as the victim of a "judicial system gone crazy" and said the judiciary needed to be taken apart and "reconstructed". The State's highest appeals court in October 2003 overturned the murder verdict.

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