Friday, February 20, 2009
Italy's government has rushed through a decree to crack down on sexual violence and illegal immigration after a spate of rapes by foreigners
The decree sets a mandatory life sentence for the rape of minors or attacks where the victim is killed. It also establishes rules for citizen street patrols to be conducted by unarmed and unpaid volunteers. Three recent high-profile rapes have sparked national outrage. These included the rape of 14-year-old girl in a park in Rome, by two men from Eastern Europe. A Bolivian woman was raped in Milan by a man described as North African, while in Bologna, a Tunisian who had just been released from prison was re-arrested for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl. Many recent rapes have been committed by foreigners, especially Roma Gypsies. The government has pointed to official statistics showing that immigrants committed as many as 35% of crimes in Italy in 2007.