No joke: Italian judge throws out anti-Semitic Roma case

lazio fans

February 9 – In a hugely controversial judgement that has caused outrage amongst the Italian Jewish community, two Lazio fans have been acquitted by a judge despite being caught on camera singing explicitly anti-Semitic chants at rival Roma supporters.

Almost four years ago, closed-circuit cameras in the Stadio Olimpico captured the fans chanting ‘giallorosso ebreo’, Italian for ‘yellow-red Jew’ in reference to Roma’s colours.

The fans stood trial for incitement and racial hatred but according to local reports, the charges have been thrown out on the grounds that the phrase ‘Jewish Roma supporter’ does not constitute racism but is rather an acceptable term because of the “historic sports antagonism between the two urban teams.”

“This is merely sports ridicule,” the judge said before discharging the two even though police had apparently found in the apartment of one of the defendants posters and t-shirts identifying him with the far right.

The head of the Jewish community in Rome, Ruth Dureghello, reacted scathingly to the ruling.  “This is, without doubt, an extremely dangerous precedent for justice in this country,” he wrote while the judge in question was deemed “blind and deaf or worse” in the Italian parliament.

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