16th February 2015: The Civil Court in Rome has found the Italian publishing house Gruppo Editoriale Simone guilty of discrimination against Roma and Sinti people for publishing a text accusing “Gypsies” of being criminals.
The book in question, published by Simone in 2011, is a textbook for trainee lawyers. In the section explaining Article 712 of the Italian penal code, relating to “goods of suspect origin”, the author defines this term as items sold by “panhandlers, Gypsies and well-known persons with a criminal record”.
The case against Simone was initiated in June 2012 by SRT grantee Associazione 21 Luglio and the Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (ASGI) on behalf of Dzemila Salkanovic, a Roma woman who alleged that the publication “insulted her personal dignity” by criminalising her on purely ethnic grounds. The court found in Ms Salkanovic’s favour, ordering Simone to withdraw the publication and pay her EUR 1,000 in compensation.
21 Luglio and ASGI welcomed the Court judgment in a joint statement, saying, “Associating the term “gypsy” with the commission of crimes against property effectively spreads a negative stereotype […] according to which the Roma are criminals by the mere fact of being Roma. This stigmatises the entire Roma and Sinti communities, with an obvious effect on the social lives of those belonging to them.”
Full story from Associazione 21 Luglio’s website (in Italian): http://www.21luglio.org/casa-editrice-condannata-per-pubblicazione-discrimina-rom-sinti
Guardian article about the case: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/06/roma-people-win-court-battle-over-italian-legal-text-linking-gypsies-to
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