News / Europe

Berlusconi Indicted in Prostitution Probe

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (File)
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (File)
Sabina Castelfranco

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been indicted on charges of paying to have sex with a minor and abuse of office. The trial is set to begin on April 6.

Following weeks of scandal and allegations about the Italian prime minister’s promiscuous sex life, a judge in Milan Tuesday ruled that he is to stand trial on charges that include paying an underage girl for sex and then using his position to cover up for it. Under Italian law, these charges put together carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Italian media have been dominated for weeks by the alleged prostitution affair with a then 17-year-old Moroccan girl known as Ruby.

The judge’s decision was a blow for the 74-year-old Mr. Berlusconi, who has always managed to avoid a definitive sentence in his many legal proceedings. The prime minister will be tried this time by three women judges who were chosen at random. He is not obliged to appear in court.

For the time being, his position as prime minister will not immediately be affected, as there is no legal obstacle to his continuing to hold office during trial proceedings.

Tuesday’s ruling indicates the judge believed there was reason to indict the prime minister. Chiara Magrini, professor of law at Rome’s John Cabot university explains.

"The fact itself that the judge admitted the immediate trial, the speedy trial, it implies that there is an overwhelming evidence, but not necessarily that he [Berlusconi] is guilty," said Magrini.

Italians are torn over whether it is right that the prime minister should undergo trial for his personal conduct. Berlusconi still enjoys much popular support. But many women are fed up with the way he has been carrying on, always surrounding himself with beautiful young girls.

"As far as the trial is concerned, I don’t see why somebody should be above the law," said a Milan resident. "I think he should stand trial. The judges know what they are doing."

Italy’s constitutional court last month removed the automatic immunity from trial that Mr. Berlusconi has previously enjoyed. Many say they hope this is an indication that the tide has been turning for the prime minister, and that he will realize the time has come for him to step down. With an increasingly unstable political situation, there has been widespread speculation that Italy will have to hold early elections.

But Berlusconi on Monday said he is confident he has enough support in parliament to see out his full term to 2013.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid