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Sunday, February 20

Man fined for insulting Berlusconi

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Man fined for insulting Berlusconi

Insulting some heads of state may cost you your liberty or worse. In Italy, the price to pay for offending the government chief was set slightly lower yesterday, albeit at a relatively steep €500 (£345).

That was the fine dished out yesterday to a man who shouted "buffoon" at the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, two years ago.

Piero Ricca enraged Mr Berlusconi in May 2003 by heckling him as he was leaving a law court where he was being tried on corruption charges. The insult became a rallying cry for Mr Berlusconi's opponents.

Mr Berlusconi asked police to identify the heckler so he could be prosecuted, and later said he had been victim of an "ambush" by state-owned TV channel RAI3, which filmed and broadcast the incident.

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