Vatican trial over leaks starts amid protest

The Vatican trial of three employees and two Italian journalists over publication of leaked documents started on Tuesday amid protest.

The trial of Msgr Angel Vallejo Balda, Francesca Jaouqui, Nicola Maio and journalists Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigu Nuzzi started with a 70-minute initial hearing.

Recently published books by the two journalists outline instances of past questionable Vatican spending and financial practices.

The books cite leaked documents.

Fittipardi said he chose to participate in the trial as a sign of respect, but was incredulous at the Vatican’s move against himself and Nuzzi.

He said all he did was publish news.

The journalist added that such activity is “protected and guaranteed” by the Italian Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Outside the trial, the International Association of Journalists Accredited at the Vatican issued a statement on Tuesday expressing “consternation and worry” that two journalists were being prosecuted for publishing leaked documents and essentially just doing their jobs.

The association stated “ . . . the decision to try our two colleagues is not acceptable”.

The Vatican is charging each of the five in the trial according to updates made to Vatican city-state law in July ,2013, alleging they each “illegally procured and successively revealed news and documents . . . .“

One of the four judges at the trial said that the issue was how the documents were obtained from inside the Vatican.

All five defendants are represented by lawyers belonging to the equivalent of a Vatican bar association.

The two journalists applied to be represented by their normal Italian lawyers, but this was denied by the Vatican court of appeals.

The full list of accusations and charges runs about 10 pages and has not been made public.

Nuzzi and Fittipardi said separately that they had received that list only on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The trial resumes on November 30.


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