Justice in Italy may prove hard to understand to foreigners. Just yesterday a football player was banned for 3 years after he expressed solidarity with a supporter, who he thinks isn’t guilty of the accused crime.
A brief intro first
Last Thursday Italian Supreme Court confirmed that two supporters are guilty of manslaughter after riots from 2007. Back then, during a derby clash between Catania and Palermo, police officer Filippo Raciti died, presumably as a result of a dangerous object being thrown at him by Antonio Speziale (then aged 17). Raciti was said to be hit by part of a wash basin, throwing which Speziale admitted.
The case was covered worldwide as all stadia were closed afterwards and stricter law introduced. But the long trials haven’t received that much attention. And some doubts have been expressed in the process with critics claiming that no sufficient evidence was delivered to prove that Speziale is indeed responsible for the death. It is said a piece of the basin thrown damaged one of the officer’s blood vessels, but why would this have result only after over 90 minutes from the incident? This is one of key questions accusation didn’t answer clearly enough to silence those doubting.
Footballer banned for different opinion
After Thursday’s decision of the court, Speziale was arrested as he is now to awaiting 8-year imprisonment. On Sunday a footballer named Pietro Arcidiacono, playing in Serie D, commented this event with a t-shirt slogan “Speziale innocente” after he scored a goal for his team. Arcidiacono was born in Catania, knows the sentenced supporter and claims he is not guilty.
What gained Arcidiacono recognition wasn’t his message itself, but the response by authorities. First he was expelled from the team of Nuova Cosenza. Then the Calabria Police demanded harsher punishment and managed to put his action under the stadium safety law. He was therefore banned from attending football games for 3 years.
This kind of penalty is painful for a fan, but for a footballer it’s even more. Arcidiacono is now effectively prevented from following his profession as a player. And all because his opinion on the case differed than the official one.
Worth mentioning, the player stressed several times that this was only a gesture of solidarity with a person he knows, not a message addressed at the mourning Raciti family or the whole legal system.