VATICAN CITY, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- An Italian court has ruled Vatican Radio must pay damages to a small town near Rome for electromagnetic pollution created by its transmitters.
Italy's Supreme Court upheld an order for damages in a case that began in 2001 when so-called electrosmog levels produced by Vatican Radio transmitters near the town of Cesano were found to exceed levels allowed by law, Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.
The station quickly reduced the strength of its signals, but the case went to court amid news reports of a regional health authority study that found children in the Cesano area were six times more likely to develop leukemia than their peers elsewhere.
A group backing the Cesano residents' claims hailed the court's decision.
''It's a great victory. Finally justice is done and the people of Cesano will be able to have the compensation they are rightfully due," said Carlo Rienzi, president of the Codacons consumer association.
''We're satisfied. Now we'll see what happens with the other more serious question of the increase in mortality for leukemia among Cesano inhabitants," he said.
Vatican Radio denied its transmitters were causing health problems and said it had always abided by international treaties on emission limits.
''This sentence comes at the end of a long, stormy trial process which has seen the pontifical broadcaster subject to unjust accusations,'' a Vatican Radio statement said.