Pope’s ex-butler on trial for theft over Vatican leaks
From Hada Messia, CNN
September 29, 2012 — Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
- Paolo Gabriele was arrested in May on suspicion of leaking papers belonging to the pope
- He could face up to eight years in prison if convicted on the aggravated theft charge
- The scandal, with its claims of corruption, has rocked the Catholic Church hierarchy
- Vatican computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti is accused of aiding Gabriele
Rome (CNN) — The trial began Saturday for Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler on an aggravated theft charge over the alleged leaking of hundreds of secret papers from the pope’s personal apartment to an Italian journalist.
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, could face a sentence of up to eight years in an Italian prison if convicted, although it is possible the pope could choose to pardon him.
Gabriele has not entered a guilty plea but has admitted leaking the papers to the Vatican prosecutor, according to Vatican statements.
Vatican computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti, who worked in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, is also on trial, accused of complicity in the crime. If found guilty, he faces a shorter prison term of only a few months.
Three lay judges, led by Giuseppe Dalla Torre, are hearing the case in the Vatican City courthouse, located behind St. Peter’s Basilica.
Saturday’s hearing is expected to be largely procedural, although the judges may reveal more details of the evidence and witnesses to be heard in the closely watched case.
Pope’s butler to stand trial
Vatican butler’s arrest
The names of several witnesses were left blank in a report previously issued by the investigative judge, with the exception of the pope’s personal secretary, Georg Gaenswein.
The Vatican has said Gabriele cooperated with investigators and admits leaking the papers, which consisted of faxes, letters and memos, including some from a high-ranking church official expressing concerns about corruption within the Vatican.
A prosecutor in the case said in a report last month that Gabriele acted out of a desire to combat “evil and corruption everywhere in the Church.”
“I was certain that a shock … would have been healthy to bring the church back onto the right track,” Gabriele is quoted as saying by the prosecutor, Nicola Piccardi.
The scandal, with its claims of corruption, has rocked the Catholic Church hierarchy and could even affect who becomes the next pope.
The Vatican City State penal code for proceedings involving its citizens is based on the Italian penal code of the second half of the 19th century. The presiding judge, Dalla Torre, will lead the debate and question the defendant directly.
The Vatican courthouse has handled mostly petty theft cases in the past. Prison terms handed down by the court are served in the Italian prison system, under an agreement between the Vatican City State and Italy.
Gabriele was arrested in May, following a top-level Vatican investigation into how the pope’s private documents appeared in the best-selling book “Sua Santita” (“His Holiness”), by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.
The Vatican called the publication of his book “criminal
” when it was released in Italian.
Part of complete coverage on
Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear where he thinks this line is. But do the U.S. agree?
September 29, 2012 — Updated 0119 GMT (0919 HKT)
If the Curiosity rover had been sent to Mars in ancient times, it might have found itself sinking in a stream.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
One of Hong Kong’s richest men is offering a fortune to the man who will marry his gay daughter. Jonathan Mann reports.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
Adele says it’s wrong musicians use sex to sell their music. Showbiz Tonight has more.
September 28, 2012 — Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Nicola Adams, the first ever Olympic gold medalist in women’s boxing, reveals how she fell in love with the sport.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
On the northern edge of this war-torn country, barely a hundred meters from the Turkish border, thousands of Syrians
sleep in the dirt.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 1048 GMT (1848 HKT)
Just days after the FedEx Cup winner picked up an $11.5m check, golfers from the U.S. and Europe go head to head with only pride to play for.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 1537 GMT (2337 HKT)
CNN takes a look at how the maker of BlackBerry is trying to capitalize on the African market.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 1232 GMT (2032 HKT)
Books have been written about him, a film devoted to his every move on the pitch and now the Frenchman’s career has been captured in bronze.
September 27, 2012 — Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Whatever the literary merits of J.K. Rowling’s new novel, the Harry Potter author is unlikely to earn many plaudits for the originality of her subject matter.
Read article here -