February 1st, 2006 : Judge Luigi Tosti, of the court of Camerino (Italy), has been sentenced to seven months in jail and one year of exclusion from public buildings for refusing to sit in the presence of religious symbols in the courtroom. He has now, in addition, been suspended from his functions and remuneration by the disciplinary section of the Italian judiciary system. This sanction was requested by the prosecuting attorney of the Italian supreme court of appeal, who is the voice of the Italian government presided over by Dr Silvio Berlusconi.
|Judge Luigi Tosti must be acquitted! That is the demand made by 2,500 citizens from 34 different countries on every continent, including 500 Italian citizens, mobilized over the last two months, with Judge Luigi Tosti, to require and end to the legal and disciplinary procedures and the immediate restoration of the judge to his functions.||
On August 15th, 2005, pope Benedict XVI stated in his homily: “It is important that God be visible inside public and private houses, that God be present in public life, with the presence of crucifixes inside public buildings.”
On November 19th, 2005, Benedict XVI and Silvio Berlusconi, following “an exchange of opinions over Church-State relations in Italy”, confirmed “the common will of both parties to collaborate within the framework of the Lateran Treaty”.
On November 18th, 2005, judge Luigi Tosti, age 57, was sentenced by the Aquila tribunal, about 100 kilometres from Rome, to seven months in jail and a one-year suspension. His crime? Luigi Tosti refuses to judge in the presence of religious symbols inside the courtroom.
The judge bases his case on the Italian Constitution of December 1947 that states that all citizens “are equal before the law, without consideration of sex, race, language, religion” (Art. 3), but a directive from the fascist minister Rocco, dated 1926 and never abolished since by any of the following governments, states that crucifixes must be displayed inside Italian courtrooms.
Indeed, Italy continues to live under both the Lateran Treaty regimen and the Church-State concordat, signed on February 11th, 1929, between the Vatican and Italy. Italy was then represented by Benito Mussolini, head of government. In 1984, the head of the government, the socialist Bettino Craxi, renewed the concordat with the Vatican: admittedly the catholic cult was no longer State Religion but the fascist laws were not abolished. So Italy has, in cardinal Tauran’s words, a “coordinated” Church-State separation, as opposed to “the pure and simple separation” in which “religions are constrained to the private sphere (USA, France)”.
This is indisputably an intolerable attack on freedom of conscience and the principle of secularism. This is why the signatory organizations of this statement call on international public opinion forecfully to demand:
– the acquittal of Judge Tosti and the cessation of legal proceedings against him.
– the immediate cessation of the disciplinary proceedings against him
– the immediate restoration of Judge Tosti to his functions and remuneration
This cause, adopted by Democrats, Humanists, Secularists, Rationalists and Free-thinkers, is the same on every continent: for the absolute freedom of conscience guaranteed by separation of Religion and State!
The organizations who initiated this statement call on every local, national, and international organization that, throughout the world, defends secularist principles to join them with signing this statement, to support and gather signatures for the international petition, which has already collected more than 2500 signatures, and, in the name of their own organization, to call upon the chief of the Italian government:
Dott. Silvio Berlusconi
Presidenza del Consiglio dei ministri
Piazza Colonna 370
00186 Roma – Italia
tel. +390667791 e-mail. [email protected]
to require the end of this attack on freedom of conscience in Italy.
Secularists of all nations, unite!
List of first Signatories
– Fédération Nationale de la Libre Pensée (France)
– Union des Athées (France)
– Union Rationaliste de Nantes (France)
– Fondation Humaniste du Québec (Québec, Canada)
– Liberté de Conscience (Luxembourg)
– Associazione di Volontariato Laica Ippocrate – La Cultura della Salute (Italia)
– Faire Le Jour (France)
– EGALE – Egalité, Laïcité, Europe (France)
– Association FABULA (Suisse)
– Repàºblica e Laicidade (Portugal)
– Mouvement Laïque Québécois (Québec, Canada)
– Antyklerykalna Partia PostÃ„â„¢pu RACJA (Polska)
– Mouvement Europe et Laïcité (France)
– Asosiacià³n de Especialistas Universitarias en Estudios de la Mujer (Argentina)
– Association Suisse pour la Laïcité (Suisse)
– International Humanist and Ethical Union IHEU (International)
Each organization adpoting this statement is asked to send a message for the attention of Union Rationaliste de Nantes, which is coordinating information about these initiatives, and ensures coordination with the international petition by individuals and with Judge Luigi Tosti.
by e-mail : [email protected] (Michel Naud)
by postal mail : Union Rationaliste de Nantes
13, place du Petit Bois
F- 44100 Nantes (France)
Central website of the campaign : http://brightsfrance.free.fr/tosti.htm
Individuals’ signatures to be addressed to : [email protected]
Individuals’ international petition Signatories : http://brightsfrance.free.fr/tostiliste.htm
List of signatory organizations : http://brightsfrance.free.fr/tosticall.htm
Latest news (French and Italian): http://brightsfrance.free.fr/tosticassation.htm