Italy passes emergency rape decree

Measure rushed through amid national anger over several rapes blamed on immigrants.

    The decree imposing tougher penalties comes
    into effect immediately [EPA]

    Citizen street patrols

    The measure goes into effect immediately but must be approved by both houses of parliament within 60 days.

    It also establishes rules for citizen street patrols by unarmed and unpaid volunteers.

    The move came after groups of self-styled and unregulated vigilantes began patrolling some towns, alarming police officials.

    Mayors will be able to approve citizen patrols, with priority given to membership or leadership roles by retired police and soldiers on leave.

    Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, defended the measure, saying that setting up organised groups of volunteers would avoid the creation of "do-it-yourself" patrols seeking to take matters into their own hands.

    Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister, earlier said that the number of sexual assaults fell 10 per cent last year compared to 2006 and 2007.
     
    But many Italians are unconvinced, with recent rapes grabbing headlines in newspapers and television, often playing up the role of foreigners as perpetrators.

    Some politicians have also reopened the debate over whether chemical castration of sex offenders should be instituted.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Zimbabwe military's statement after seizing power

    Zimbabwe military's statement after seizing power

    Major General SB Moyo addresses the nation after Zimbabwe's military seizes state TV, blocks off government offices.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    Aamir Khan: The Snake Charmer

    Aamir Khan: The Snake Charmer

    Can Aamir Khan create lasting change in Indian society or is he just another Bollywood star playing the role of a hero?