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Italian senator charged for comparing minister to an orangutan

Nov. 7, 2013 at 10:05 AM

BERGAMO, Italy, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said they have levied charges against Italian Sen. Roberto Calderoli, who compared the country's first black minister to an orangutan.

Calderoli, a member of the Northern League party, has been charged with defamation aggravated by racial discrimination, the ANSA news agency reported.

The charges stem from a statement he made about Italy's integration minister, Cecile Kyenge, an opthalmologist born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is the first back to serve in the Italian Cabinet.

''Whenever I see Minister Kyenge, I cannot help but think of an orangutan," Calderoli said to fellow party members in July.

Prosecutors called for an immediate trial Wednesday, ANSA said.

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