Ex-Italian PM Berlusconi predicts revolution if he is arrested

Dec. 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM
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ROME, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi predicted a revolution in Italy Thursday if he were arrested, now that his parliamentary immunity has been stripped.

Berlusconi, 77, lost his parliamentary immunity from arrest in October when he was ejected from the Italian Senate after the nation's top court upheld a tax fraud conviction in August.

Because of his age, Berlusconi's four-year sentence was reduced to one year, and Berlusconi is expected to begin doing community service for that year in the spring, the ANSA news agency reported. He has previously said he thought serving community service was beneath him.

"They can check my telephone, they have taken away my passport and they can arrest me when they want," Berlusconi told French radio station Europe 1. "But I'm not afraid. If they do so, there will be a revolution in Italy".

He also said an arrest would guarantee that his center-right Forza Italia party would gain a majority during the next general election.

"I'm not afraid of them sending me to prison. It'll be difficult for them to do because I'd immediately have the overwhelming majority of the country with me at the next elections," he said.

Berlusconi is appealing convictions for having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his power to cover it up, and for involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap.

He has been indicted for allegedly bribing a senator to switch political sides and is being investigated in other criminal probes.

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