Italian politician suspended over calls to rape black minister

Rome, June 14 (IANS/AKI) A local councillor in Italy’s northern city of Padua was suspended by the anti-immigrant Northern League party after she called for Italy’s first woman black minister to be raped.

Commenting about an alleged rape of an Italian woman by an African man, councillor Dolores Valandro posted online a picture of Italy’s integration minister Cecile Kyenge, and commented: “Why doesn’t anyone ever rape her so she can understand what the victim of this heinous crime can feel?”

Northern League leaders condemned Valandro’s “unspeakable” comments, and said she would be expelled from the party.

Valandro’s “violent, stupid” comments were condemned by Massimo Bitonci, the party whip in Italy’s Senate, who vowed disciplinary action against her.

He said he had told Valandro to remove the remarks from her online profile and apologise.

Right-wing extremists have attacked Kyenge online since she was appointed integration minister in April, and magistrates are probing racist insults and threats sent to the minister.

Several Northern League members have made offensive comments about Kyenge, a 48-year-old doctor born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but who moved to Italy to study medicine.

A Northern League European Parliament member, Mario Borghezio, said Kyenge would seek to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo”, and called the new Italian cabinet a “bonga bonga” government.

Amid an online petition to remove him, Borghezio apologised for the slur but was ousted from the EFD Eurosceptics group in the European Parliament.

Last month, the far-right Forza Nuova party launched an internet campaign called “Immigration Kills”, after several recent murders were allegedly committed by migrants in northern Italy.

The group attacked as “absurd” proposals by Kyenge to grant automatic citizenship to children born to legal migrants in Italy.

–IANS/AKI

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