Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Saving Berlusconi's bacon

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi goes on trial today on charges of abuse of office and soliciting underage prostitution. Meanwhile, members of his party in the Chamber of Deputies are trying to interfere with the trial process:

The Chamber of Deputies, which is controlled by Berlusconi's conservative allies, ruled in February that the trial should have been diverted to a special court — one in which he would have been more likely to be acquitted. Lawyers will appeal on parliament's behalf to the constitutional court, which could rule that the case be scrapped.
These aren't the only charges Berlusconi is facing - he's also being tried in three other cases involving tax fraud and corruption. But his party has a solution for that too: shorten the statute of limitations for such crimes again. Thousands of trials will be aborted as a result, but Berlusconi will be able to walk free.

This is how things work in Italy now. Basic things we take for granted, such as the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, are being undermined in an effort to protect a corrupt and criminal Prime Minister. But what's really appalling is that Italians put up with it. These are their rights under threat; its time they stood up to defend them.