Jail threat for Vatican Radio cardinal and priest

Two executives of Vatican Radio have been given 10-day suspended jail sentences because the radio's transmitters create too much interference.

AFP reports that the sentences for Cardinal Roberto Tucci, the radio's president, and director general Fr Pasquale Borgomeo, would be suspended only if the electronic interference ceased and the two officials agreed to pay compensation, judge Luisa Martoni said.

Marcello Malandri, a lawyer for the two Vatican officials, said he would appeal the ruling.

"We are sure to win," he said.

Vatican Radio slammed the ruling as "unjustified", and said it hoped the appeal would "clear all the shadows that have tarnished our good reputation and contributed to feeding baseless fears among the population".

Last November, an Italian prosecutor asked for 15-day prison terms for Tucci and Borgomeo, demanding that the court order a suspended sentence only if the interference ceased.

The giant transmitters, which beam programs worldwide, are located in Cesano north of Rome. Local people have complained of electromagnetic pollution from them causing serious health problems, including leukemia.

An Italian environment ministry investigation in 2001 found that the magnetic fields exceeded standards and were much higher than the permitted six volts per square metre in 11 out of 14 sites checked.

Jail threat for Vatican Radio pair (Agence France-Presse/The Australian 10/5/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vatican Radio

Cardinal convicted in environmental case (Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencier 9/5/05)
Cardinal, priest sentenced for Vatican radio waves (Reuters 9/5/05)

10 May 2005