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Ragusa. Journalist accused of violating investigative secret

Antonio Di Raimondo has revealed that a financier, is under investigation for alleged fraud at INPS. The news was not secreted. Solidarity from UNCI, Assostampa, and Order of Journalists

On June 12th, the journalist Antonio Di Raimondo wrote on the online newspaper Corriere di Ragusa.it of a military officer of the Guardia di Finanza in Ragusa who was being investigated as part of a judicial inquiry by the same Police Force for an accusation of secrecy violations. Following the publication of the news by Mr Di Raimondo, he has undergone three searches and the seizure of his two computers (one has been then returned). In his view, these allegations are inexplicable, since the news has drawn the facts from no longer a secreted documents. “There’s only one explanation: I wrote about something that someone didn’t want to get out. For me, that was some news of public interest”, Di Raimondo told Ossigeno.

The article that triggered the investigation was “A financial policeman under investigation by… the financial police” (“Un finanziere indagato dalla… finanza“), in which the journalist reports that among the 120 people under investigation in the Sicilian provincial capital for an alleged scam worth over one million euros against the INPS there was also a man of the Guardia di Finanza.

Di Raimondo is 37 years old, and has been following current events in Ragusa for over twelve years. He works for the online newspaper, of which he is editor, and works with the TV channel Antenna Sicilia and the major newspaper Gazzetta del SudAs the journalist explains: “As always, I carefully considered the documents in my possession. According to the prosecutor, there was a public official who told me of the financial police officer under investigation. But it is not true. I gathered the news from documents that were no longer secret because the notifications of the conclusion of the investigation were sent in January. But I only learned in recent days that a policeman was involved. When I heard it, I wrote it.”

A few hours after publishing the article, the reporter was urgently called to the police station of Modica, as ordered by the Prosecutor of Ragusa, and subjected to interrogation for over two hours. He was asked to reveal the name of the confidential source who had given him the court documents. Di Raimondo refused. Six days later, his newspaper’s offices (Il Corriere di Ragusa.it), his car and the house where he lives in Modica were searched.

“They took two computers and some documents from my home. One was new, and did not hold any files. Back in court in Ragusa – the journalist says – I protested because I cannot work without a computer, and so they returned the new one.”

Solidarity with Di Raimondo was expressed by the UNCI,  byAssostampa and by the Order of Journalists of Sicily. Guido Columba and LeoneZingalesof the Unci defined the episode as “an attack on freedom of the press and the right and duty of the journalist to inform the public”, highlighting that“search and seizure are in conflict with the provisions of the criminal code.” For Assostampa and the regional Order, what happened is “in stark contrast with the European regulations and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”

In the recent past in Sicily there have been other raids with seizures of material ordered by the court against journalists (read here and here).

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