Skinhead Arrested in Italy for Anti-semitic Leaflets

For the first time in Italy, a person has been arrested for fostering racism, on the basis of a law dating back to 1975 but never before enforced.

Giorgio Cola, 19, a skinhead and member of the ultraright-wing group Political Movement, was arrested Saturday as he handed out leaflets that were both anti- Semitic and anti-abortion.

He was arrested on the basis of a law that makes it an offense to “disseminate in any way ideas founded on racial superiority or hatred” or to “incite discrimination in any way or commit acts of violence or provoke violence against people because they belong to a national, ethnic or racial group.”

The law also prohibits the formation of organizations aimed at inciting racial hatred or discrimination.

In recent weeks, in the wake of skinhead demonstrations and anti-Semitic incidents, Jewish leaders in particular have called on Italian authorities to implement the laws already on the books in order to stop this type of activity.

Rome Mayor Franco Carraro also urged police to take a tougher stand in making arrests.

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