The reporter suffered a fractured elbow. He was attacked by hoodlums while covering for a daily the Lega leader Matteo Salvini’s visit to a camp of nomads
OSSIGENO March 18th 2022 – The Court of Appeal of Bologna on February 28th 2022 confirmed the sentences of 11 activists from antagonistic groups held responsible for the 8th November 2014 assault on the car of the leader of the Italian Lega party, Matteo Salvini, and for the assault of the journalist from “Il Resto del Carlino” Enrico Barbetti who was covering on behalf of his newspaper the politician’s visit to a camp of nomads. In the judgement of first instance, the judges had sentenced the defendants to prison terms of 6 to 12 months for aggravated injuries and ordered compensation for damages to the journalist to be determined in civil proceedings (see Ossigeno here). On appeal, the sentences were reduced (read here), and for 10 of the activists the conditional suspension of the sentence subject to compensation for damages to the civil parties was excluded.
THE ADVOCATE’S COMMENT – Enrico Barbetti thanked Ossigeno for the attention and solidarity it showed him after the attack and entrusted his defence lawyer, Professor Tommaso Guerini, with the task of commenting on the sentence.
“It is never easy to comment on a sentence that arrives so many years after the events. A ruling, to be truly “just”, must be made within a reasonable time frame, to guarantee the rights of both defendants and victims” – said the lawyer. “However, there is satisfaction because the compensation already recognized in the court of first instance remains unaltered and the pattern of accusations is confirmed. Enrico Barbetti was the victim of a violent and cowardly attack, motivated only by an ideological rage that cannot and must not find justification in an advanced democracy. The sentence recognizes this principle, re-establishes the proper order between the values at play – not least press freedom – and defines actions that were claimed to be legitimate as an expression of an unspecified right to dissent, as criminal. “