Case Law, Strasbourg: Belpietro v. Italy, Newspaper Editor Criminally Liable for Senator’s Op-Ed, But Prison Sentence Violated Article 10 – Ronan Ó Fathaigh and Dirk Voorhoof | Inforrm's Blog: "Nine years ago, in its landmark Cumpănă and Mazăre v. Romania judgment, a unanimous Grand Chamber laid down a rare absolute rule that prison sentences for defamation are never justified under Article 10 where the defamatory statements concern a matter of public interest. This rule against prison sentences included pardoned, suspended, or conditional sentences, effectively removing from European legislatures and courts the ability to impose such sentences.
Last week, the Second Section of the Court correctly applied Cumpănă and Mazăre, holding in Belpietro v. Italy (in French only) that a suspended four-month prison sentence given to a newspaper editor for criminal defamation violated Article 10. Somewhat more controversially, however, the Court also held that in principle, imposing criminal liability on a newspaper editor for publishing a defamatory article written by an Italian senator raised no issue under Article 10." 'via Blog this'