Berlusconi under pressure as judges set sex trial date

Berlusconi under pressure as judges set sex trial date

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faced a barrage of calls to step down Tuesday after judges ordered him to stand trial on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power, DPA reported

Ruling on a request from prosecutors, Judge Cristina Di Censo said there was sufficient evidence to order a fast-track trial for the embattled premier, who has seen his ratings plummet as a result of the ongoing scandal.

The trial, which is to open in Milan on the morning of April 6, is to be presided by three women judges: Carmen D'Elia, Orsolina De Cristofaro and Giulia Turri.

"We are asking for (Berlusconi's) resignations because the situation has become unsustainable," said Pier Luigi Bersani, head of the largest opposition party, the centre-left Partito Democratico.

"If we lived in a normal country," the judges' decision would "correspond to the immediate resignation of the prime minister," said Susanna Camusso, head of CGIL, Italy's largest trade union.

The charges against Berlusconi stem from allegations about the premier's liaison with a then 17-year-old Moroccan go-go dancer, Karima El Mahroug. The allegations first emerged in November.

The premier did not immediately comment on the judge's decision, but Justice Minister Angelino Alfano said Berlusconi would not resign.

"What about the presumption of innocence?" Alfano said, adding the premier was under no obligation to step down.

A lawyer representing the premier, Pietro Longo, said Tuesday's ruling had been "expected," since it came from the Milan judiciary, which Berlusconi has repeatedly accused of plotting to destroy his political career.

The evidence to be used in the trial has been garnered mostly from wire tappings which prosecutors say prove that Berlusconi paid El Mahroug, who uses the stage name Ruby Rubacuori (stealer of hearts), for sex.

Prosecutors also accuse the 74-year-old Berlusconi of having abused his position as prime minister when he admitted that he had intervened in May to release El Mahroug while she was held by police on suspicion of theft.

Berlusconi reportedly told police at the time that Ruby was the niece of former Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak.

If found guilty, Berlusconi faces a maximum combined prison sentence of 15 years.

The embattled media-magnate-turned politician has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to see out his term, which expires in 2013.

On Sunday, more than 1 million people turned out in squares across Italy to protest Berlusconi's alleged sex antics.

The pressure on Berlusconi to step down comes amid dissent within his conservative coalition and increasingly vocal criticism from the Catholic Church.

Shares in the Berlusconi-controlled Mediaset television company fell 1.34 per cent to 4.78 euros (6.45 dollars) on the news on the Milan stock exchange.

Similarly, Mediaset-controlled Spanish television company, Telecinco, was down 2.20 per cent to 9.52 euros per share on the Madrid stock exchange.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Kazakhstan reports increase in purchase prices for new housing
Kazakhstan reports increase in purchase prices for new housing
Uzbekistan reveals main countries in terms of imports for 10M2021
Uzbekistan reveals main countries in terms of imports for 10M2021
S&P Global Ratings announces Uzbek Ravnaq-bank's credit rating
S&P Global Ratings announces Uzbek Ravnaq-bank's credit rating
Loading Bars
Latest
Iran's trade with China declining
Iran seeks to boost trade with Syria through private sector
Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine neutralises Omicron with three shots
Red Cross to build regional logistics hub in Georgia
Kazakhstan reports increase in purchase prices for new housing
SOCAR Petroleum among largest taxpayers in Ukrainian fuel market
Azerbaijan launches construction of tunnels on Horadiz-Jabrayil-Zangilan-Aghband highway (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, Iran hold discussions on development of co-op in oil-gas sector
Armenian troops shoot at Azerbaijani military positions in Kalbajar
Azerbaijan's activities in energy sector - commendable, says Iranian minister
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,210 more COVID-19 cases, 1,853 recoveries
US-led global release of strategic petroleum reserves may accelerate oversupply
Initial acquaintance with minefields maps provided by Armenia creates impression of inaccuracy – ANAMA
Main goal of Google Pay - to ease payment possibility for users, says head of operations strategy
Azerbaijan shares data on oil export to Switzerland for 10M2021
Azerbaijan discloses oil exports to Greece over 10M2021
bp says delivery of final major equipment packages for ACE complete
bp talks latest progress in ACE platform construction
Georgia shows positive growth in tourism revenue recovery – TBC Capital
Russia begins sea trials of 'Peter the Great' cruise ship - Astrakhan governor
Iran sees increase in volume of cargo loaded/unloaded in Genaveh port
Azericard looks to expand innovative payment tools in Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan reveals main countries in terms of imports for 10M2021
Several wheat varieties sown in Azerbaijan's liberated lands (PHOTO)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan plans to develop standards to support open banking technologies in 2022
Azerbaijan, Russia’s Astrakhan to co-op in dev’t of North-South transport corridor – Astrakhan governor
Central Bank of Azerbaijan unveils five main directions of digital payment development strategy
S&P Global Ratings announces Uzbek Ravnaq-bank's credit rating
China's Venus Medtech buys Israeli co Cardiovalve
Central Bank of Azerbaijan to develop document on conceptual approach to digital currency creation in 2022
Uzbekistan names leading countries in terms of exports in 10M2021
National Bank of Georgia reduces mortgage loans term
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 8
Tesla sold 52,859 China-made vehicles in November
Azerbaijan developing new training programs for qualified workers - minister
UAE to allow establishment of acquisition companies
MasterCard eyes expanding non-cash payment opportunities for public transport in Azerbaijani regions
Light Industry Development Project in Georgia getting support from USAID
Azerbaijani Ombudsman talks about measures on Armenia's execution of decision of Int'l Court of Justice
IRICA shares data on Iran’s steel, iron products export
Azerbaijan, Iran discuss issue on construction of bridge and pedestrian crossing over Astarachay River
Social Democrat Olaf Scholz elected as German chancellor
Iran to launch new power units for TPPs
Lithuanian BS/2 to expand its business in Azerbaijan
Eurasian petroleum production to continue positive trend by 2022
Cargo transportation via Iran's Urmia International Airport increases
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan to build industrial trade and logistics complex on border
Europe to see increase in petroleum, other liquids output
MasterCard implements projects to expand contactless, non-cash payments in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan researching to create digital manat
Russian S7 Airlines launches regular flights to Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan assigns payments to 20,000 families of martyrs in 2021 - minister
National Bank of Georgia tightens monetary policy rate
Personal exhibition of Brazilian street artist to open at Azerbaijan's Heydar Aliyev Center
Iran working to increase amount of solar panels installed on rooftops
Azerbaijan to file two lawsuits against Armenia in 2022 – MFA
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs hold phone talk
Int'l Court of Justice rejected Armenia's petition on War Trophy Park - Azerbaijani MFA
Activities in Iran’s Jask Port down
Azerbaijan's SMBDA eyes creating alternative source of lending to SME entrepreneurs
Azerbaijan's SMEs have wide access to cashless solutions – SMBDA
Proposal made to exempt from taxes import of goods for mine clearance to Azerbaijan
Transition to open, digital banking envisaged in Azerbaijan in next five years – CBA (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan forecasts unchanged volume of oil production in 2022
Azerbaijan’s Central Bank takes measures to ensure high level dev’t of non-cash payments (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan Banks Association projects share of non-cash payments in total turnover by 2025
Iran’s NICICO boosts copper production
Intel plans Mobileye flotation at over $50b valuation
Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar Oil Chemistry Refinery opens tender to buy pipes
TBC Capital shares outlook on Georgia’s tourism recovery
Azerbaijan openly calls on Armenia to prevent confrontation – deputy FM
International Court of Justice recommended Armenia to resolve border demarcation issue - Azerbaijan's MFA
Azerbaijan’s MFA talks Yerevan's claims on detained persons of Armenian origin
Azerbaijani minister talks current problems in local labor market
Azerbaijan’s liberated territories have great potential for employment – minister
Georgia’s textile imports from Turkey increase
Azerbaijan suffered from equal treatment of aggressor and victim - MFA
Iran records increase in transit of goods via trucks through its territory
Azerbaijan working on several youth development projects - Minister of Youth and Sports
Possible opening of cruise line between Azerbaijan, Russia has high potential - Astrakhan governor
Azerbaijan sees increase in concluded labor contracts over past four years - minister
Azerbaijan’s Central Bank talks increase in non-cash payments (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan to be fully covered by internet by late 2024 - deputy minister
Georgia releases COVID-19 data for December 8
Developing contactless payments to help further digitalize Azerbaijan's economy - VISA
Azerbaijan talks progress of tunnel road building between Goygol, liberated Kalbajar districts
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Baku holds Azerbaijan Career Development Forum (PHOTO)
Business centers of Azerbaijan, Russia’s Astrakhan sign memorandum of co-op (PHOTO)
Baku port transports goods in transit mainly to Central Asia, Europe – head of main cargo terminal
Kazakhstan eyes increasing requirements for commodity exchanges
Georgia launches energy reform program, backed by KfW, EU
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for December 7
Iranian currency rates for December 8
Oil prices ease as investors wait for assessment of Omicron's impact
EIA revises down forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2022 petroleum production
Azerbaijan to commission new enterprises for production of sulfuric acid and glass containers
MFA issues statement on 30th anniversary of Azerbaijan's membership in OIC
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on Dec. 8
All news