Six convictions and penalties increased for the aggravating circumstance of ‘”racial hatred”. This is the decision taken by the judge about the people accused of having set fire to the Roma camp of Vallette, Turin. A fact started in December 2011: a girl of sixteen reported to have been raped by two Roma people while she was walking back home. The event was denied that night: fortunately, no violence was carried out against the girl. But the national and local media, while investigations were carried on, gave the information for granted, including, unbelievably, some details of the violence. The imbalance of mass media towards a strong sensationalism was so strong that the newspaper called La Stampa apologized for a title that Guido Tiberga, the editor of the Turin chronicle sector of the newspaper, called “racist”. No other newspaper did the same.
The way mass media scaremonger at a local and national played an important role in inciting hate against Roma, all indiscriminately: reading the news about the violence, italian neighborhood’s residents organized a candlelight vigil, and during the procession fifty persons, hooded, attacked the Roma community burning and destroying their mobile homes, throwing paper bombs and scared the people, whose property were completely lost in the fire. The investigations of the Prosecutor of Turin accused seven men of fireattack, resisting the police and obstructing rescue operation.
After four years, the Turin court has convicted six people, with sentences ranging from three years to three and a half years. The judge confirmed the aggravating circumstance of ‘”racial hatred”, and established harsher penalties respect to the ones requested by the prosecution. The defendants were also sentenced to pay between 15,000 euro for the people injured, and 3 thousand euro for associations who brought a civil action.