Eleven of 16 far-left extremists accused of attacking a vehicle carrying populist senator Matteo Salvini have been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison along with large fines.
The convictions relate to an incident that took place in Bologna in 2014 and saw a group of leftists attack a vehicle containing Salvini and several other League (Lega) politicians.
Initially, the Bologna public prosecutor had asked for all 16 extremists to be sentenced to 16 months for criminal damage, 21 months for violent acts, and two years for bodily injury, but only 11 of the extremists were convicted in court, Il Giornale reports.
Four of the 11 were also convicted for assaulting Enrico Barbetti, a reporter for the Bologna-based newspaper Il Resto del Carlino.
The incident took place in November 2014 and came after Alan Fabbri, then-candidate for the presidency of the region, and Lucia Borgonzoni, at the time a municipal councillor in Bologna, visited a Roma (Gypsy) camp where Borgonzoni was slapped in the face.
Days later, Matteo Salvini arrived in Bologna, and a group of far-left radicals smashed his car. Just hours later the extremists attacked reporter Enrico Barbetti, injuring his left elbow.
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Along with prison sentences, two of the defendants sentenced to a year and six months were also forced to pay €10,000 (£8,581/$11,858) to Salvini’s League,and together with five others who were given lesser sentences will have to pay each of the three victims €2,500 (£2,145) court costs for a total of €7,500 (£6,435).
Salvini commented on the result of the case, saying: “Great satisfaction for me and for the Bolognese. Violence is never the solution. Bologna, home to Europe’s oldest university, does not deserve to be smeared by a few delinquents.”
The attack is not the first for Salvini, who has been subjected to violent threats from far-left extremists for years, including a student group in Bologna that put up posters calling for his assassination in 2018.
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