Credit: EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH
Credit: EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH

Four Italians have been sentenced to six months without Facebook for posting racial insults and calling for violence against asylum seekers on social media.

The Venice External Penalty Execution Office (UEPE) has issued an innovative sentence to four Italians who posted hate speech on Facebook: They have been banned from using Facebook for six months. The men were accused of posting phrases that encouraged people to "burn refugees." 


Violent racist posts 

The sentence, together with other measures aimed at reforming the "keyboard racists," was issued to four Italians aged between 34 and 56, residents in the area of Portogruaro in the province of Venice. 

One of the posts they wrote about migrants said: "We need to help them. Let's host one of them in every house and wash them with petrol and dry them off with a flamethrower and everything is resolved." 

Other posts included this one: "Dirty people, they must die, if I find one of them I'll throw battery acid on him so they understand we don't want them." And this: "Let's set the building on fire with them inside". 

The posts appeared in July 2017 on the blog "You're From Portogruaro If" in a display of violent and ferocious racist statements. 

They will have to read books on immigration 

The Facebook ban isn't the only measure handed down in the sentence aimed at rehabilitation. Over the next six months, prior to their next hearing in court, the four will have to read books or watch films on immigration, reflect on them, and then write some brief remarks on the subject. They will be occasionally called in to the UEPE office for supervisory checks. They will also have to pay 200 euros in damages and complete four hours of community service per week. 

The men were prosecuted for violating the so-called "Mancini Law", which sanctions neo-fascist gestures, actions and slogans aimed at inciting violence or discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin. 

Their trial will be suspended for six months. On May 14, 2019, the judges will hold a hearing with the men to evaluate their reform. If they show they have followed the UEPE's orders, their case will be closed. 
 

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