Last month it was reported that Prosecutor Guiliano Mignini, the lead prosecutor in the Meredith Kercher murder trial, in Perugia Italy, filed a defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock, a blog created and maintained by reporter Frank Sfarzo. Frank Sfarzo has attended every court hearing related to this case and is the only Italian reporter providing information to an English speaking audience. Perugia Shock has been highly critical of how this case has been handled by local authorities and the prosecution, leading to the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
The defamation lawsuit filed by Guiliano Mignini was not the first attempt to silence Frank Sfarzo. Frank has been repeatedly harassed by local authorities in an attempt to silence him. This harassment has drawn the attention of the Committee to Protect Journalists, leading the group to take a strong interest in Frank’s treatment.
The original article detailing the harassment of Frank Sfarzo and his ongoing struggle is posted at the end of this update.
Guiliano Mignini may have thought he was successful in silencing Frank Sfarzo when Google bowed to pressure and took Perugia Shock offline, but Mignini was sadly mistaken if he thought Perugia Shock would remain silenced for long.
I am pleased to report that Perugia Shock is back online, with a great new look and twonew articles from Frank Sfarzo. Perugia Shock has provided invaluable first hand information about this case for over three years. Frank Sfarzo’s voice must not be allowed to be silenced by a corrupt prosecutor hellbent on destroying anyone who dares to disagree with him. Enough is enough!
Original article posted on GroundReport.com May 13, 2011
Amanda Knox Prosecutor Continues Abuse of Power to Silence His Critics
As support continues to build for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, as they fight for their freedom in Perugia Italy, the controversial prosecutor that secured their convictions continues to abuse his power in attempt to silence their support. Prosecutor Guiliano Mignini was the lead prosecutor in the Meredith Kercher murder trial in Perugia Italy, ending in guilty verdicts for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in late 2009. The trial was highly controversial leaving many throughout the world to believe that Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito have been wrongfully convicted. The appeal for both is currently ongoing.
Last month, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, released an open letter to Italy’s President, Giorgio Napolitano, highlighting their concern with the conduct of Giuliano Mignini during the Meredith Kercher trial. CPJ reports that the anti-press actions of Mignini and those under his supervision has caused the press to shy away from reporting on the Meredith Kercher case including the ongoing appeal trail for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The open letter highlights the abuse of freelance reporter Frank Sfarzo, who has been very critical of the case on his blog Perugia Shock.
You can read more about the open letter, Mignini’s conduct, and the harassment of Frank Sfarzo here:
Guiliano Mignini has shown that he has not been swayed by CPJ’s concerns regarding his past and present behavior, by continuing to press forward with a defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock, a blog created and maintained by Frank Sfarzo. Mignini has repeatedly threatened legal action in attempt to silence those who disagree with him. Bowing to pressure, Google recently took Frank’s blog offline.
In a recent interview, Sfarzo told CPJ that he received an email from Google, which hosts the Perugia Shock blog, informing him that a court order has been issued for the “preventive closure” of his blog. It was from that court order that Sfarzo learned that Perugia Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini has filed a lawsuit against Perugia Shock for “defamation, carried out by means of a website.” The court order was issued on February 23, by Florentine Judge Paola Belsino.
Frank Sfarzo’s reporting must not be silenced. Injustice in Perugia has frequently backed up the Perugia Shock blog because we have long feared that it would become a target of Mignini. Perugia Shock will be back online in its entirety very soon. You can view the new blog here: http://www.perugiashock.com.
Frank Sfarzo is the only reporter that has attended every single court hearing for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and the only Italian reporter providing information to an English speaking audience. Perugia Shock has provided invaluable first hand information about this case for over three years. Frank Sfarzo’s voice must not be allowed to be silenced by a corrupt prosecutor hell-bent on destroying anyone who dares to disagree with him. Enough is enough!
The Committee to Protect Journalists was appalled to see Mignini’s latest abuse of power and was quick to respond:
“The Committee to Protect Journalists authorities calls on Florence and Perugia to drop the trumped-up defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock, an English-language blog created and maintained by Frank Sfarzo, an Italian freelance journalist and blogger. Sfarzo has endured sustained harassment in retaliation for his reporting and commentary on the official investigation into the November 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.”
“We call on Perugia Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini to drop his defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock and allow it to remain online,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “This is hardly the first time Mignini has resorted to the law to silence his critics. It’s a heavy-handed tactic that is bound to have a chilling effect on journalists in Italy .”
This story has been a hot topic on blogs that follow the Amanda Knox case. You would think that other bloggers would come to Frank Sfarzo’s defense, in light of the fact that his blog was taken offline, as this is clearly a matter of free speech. Instead the anti-Amanda Knox groups have taken this opportunity to attack Frank Sfarzo and CPJ. The true intentions of these groups have been crystal clear in their reaction to this story. I would ask anyone who looks to their websites for information on the Amanda Knox case to ask themselves, what kind of person would condone the harassment of a journalist or a blogger, no matter what side of this debate he or she stands on?
Frank Sfarzo deserves the support of anyone who believes in the right to free speech. Those currently fighting so hard against him need to stop and think about what they are actually fighting for.