Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lese Majeste in Italy

Sabina Guzzanti is an Italian comedian and political activist. She is currently facing up to five years in jail. Her crime? Suggesting that when the Pope died, he would go to hell where he would be sodomised by demons.

This is simply medieval. But its what happens when you have an archaic lese majeste law on the books, an international treaty which demands it be used against people who insult the Pope, and a government which wants to snuggle up to the Vatican. What next? Berlusconi will reinstate the Inquisition?

This is a perfect example of both the danger and the absurdity of lese majeste laws. It's also a perfect example of how those who think they have some sort of "sacred and inviolable" honour which demands that their critics be thrown in jail in fact have none.