Detained Italy editor "escapes" to push for press freedom

Reuters News

12/1/2012 12:55:29 PM - Reuters News

ROME (Reuters) - The editor of an Italian newspaper was re-arrested on Saturday, police said, after he intentionally violated the terms of his house detention to draw attention to the issue of press freedom.

Alessandro Sallusti, editor-in-chief of Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was sentenced to 14 months in September for a libellous article in 2007, when he was at another newspaper.

His case has become a cause celebre in the media because parliament had been considering a law that would have toughened jail sentences and sanctions for journalists convicted of libel.

Sallusti said he intentionally violated the terms of his house arrest when he left his home to bring attention to continuing dangers to press freedom.

He said he wanted to make a "political provocation".

He was later returned to house arrest and faces a new trial for evading custody.

Italian journalists had scheduled a one-day strike last week but called it off after receiving assurances that the law would be modified.

(This story was corrected to make clear Senate did not approve the law)

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Sophie Hares)