Italy: Siena Professor Tweets pro-Hitler Posts
A Siena prosecutor ordered the preventive seizure of the Twitter account of a Siena university lecturer who posted a pro-Hitler tweet.
The prosecutor, Salvatore Vitello, also ordered the tweet by Professor Emmanuele Castrucci to be blacked out.
The prosecutor's office has opened a probe positing the crime of "propaganda and instigation to commit a crime for reasons of racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, aggravated by Holocaust denial".
University of Siena Rector Francesco Frati issued a statement on Monday condemning pro-Hitler tweets by Professor Castrucci.
A post said that "Hitler, even though he certainly wasn't a saint, in that moment was defending the entire European civilisation".
The professor also tweeted a picture of the Führer with a dog.
Frati called the tweet by Castrucci, who teaches philosophy of law and philosophy of public policy, "shameful and offensive" and said a disciplinary procedure has already been started.
Castrucci appealed to his right to freedom of expression, even though support for Fascism and National Socialism is against the law in Italy.
He also said that what he wrote amounted to "wholly personal opinions...expressed outside of the activity of teaching".
Castrucci's explanation was given to the head of his department of law, Stefano Pagliantini.
Pagliantini sent Castrucci an email asking to meet to clear up the case on Monday morning.
The "politically incorrect" tweets were later removed from Castrucci's Twitter profile.
The university dean, Frati, later said he would formally request the lecturer's dismissal from the university's disciplinary commission.
Castrucci's Hitler tweets were condemned by Italian zionist political parties on the centre left and centre right.
The leader of the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Lazio Governor Nicoila Zingaretti, said "this is a serious matter and we have to keep our guard up against the return of such phenomena".
Mara Carfagna of Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right opposition Forza Italia (FI) party said it was a "disgusting case" and there should be "universal condemnation".
The ruling anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) said "he can't teach in the university".
The PD governor of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi, said "we will sue Signor Emanuele Castrucci, hitherto lecturer at the University of Siena, for apology of Fascism".
The case came after last week's police probe into a group of Italians trying to set up a National Socialist party in Italy: