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Italian town sues Charlie Hebdo for defamation after cartoon depicts quake victims as lasagna

By Allen Cone
Italian town sues Charlie Hebdo for defamation after cartoon depicts quake victims as lasagna
Rescuers inspect the rubble and debris as they continue to look for victims of an earthquake in the central Italian town of Amatrice on Aug. 27. The town is suing the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo after it portrayed victims as pasta. Photo by Marco D'Antonio/UPI | License Photo

AMATRICE, Italy, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- An Italian town where nearly 300 people died in last month's earthquake is suing Charlie Hebdo after its cartoon portrayed victims as pasta dishes.

Amatrice sued the French magazine for defamation on Monday, with its lawyer calling the cartoon "macabre, senseless and incomprehensible."

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More than 295 people died in in the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Amatrice, a town in central Italy, on Aug. 24.

The cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo, titled "earthquake Italian style," portrayed a bloody man described as penne tomato sauce, an injured woman as penne au gratin and bodies between layers of rubble as lasagne.

After the criticism, Charlie Hebdo released a second cartoon, with the caption "Italians ... it's not Charlie Hebdo who built your homes, it's the Mafia!"

"Criticism, even in the form of satire, is an inviolable right both in Italy and France, but not everything can be 'satire' and in this case the two cartoons offend the memory of all the victims of the earthquake, the people who survived and the town of Amatrice," Cicchetti was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.

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He said damages awarded to the town will be given to the quake victims.

Charlie Hebdo declined to comment on the case.

The magazine became a rallying cry for Free Speech after Islamic radicals barged into the newsroom in Paris in January 2015 and killed 12 people, including the top editor and several cartoonists. The attack was in retaliation for the newspaper's caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

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