05 July 2016
Christopher Lamb in Rome
Vatileaks: Prosecutors call for prison sentences for defendants
Many have speculated that those prosecuted will be given a papal pardon
Prosecutors have called for the woman at the heart of the Vatileaks trial to be sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
Francesca Chaouqui, who gave birth to a son during the trial, was described as the “inspirer” behind the the leaking and publication of sensitive financial documents of the Holy See and should be handed the harshest sentence.
For her co-defendant, Mgr Angel Lucio Valleja Balda, prosecutors are recommending three years and one month behind bars, while his secretary, Nicolo Maio, should receive one year and nine months for his “limited role” in the affair.
Meanwhile the two journalists on trial - who both published books based on the documents - are to be effectively let off. The prosecution say that Emiliano Fittipaldi should be acquitted due to an “absence of proof” while it is recommended that Gianluigi Nuzzi be given a one-year suspended sentence.
All five are being prosecuted under a new law created by Pope Francis in 2013 to criminalise leaking: the harshest penalty they could have received is eight years behind bars.
Both Chaouqui and Mgr Vallejo Balda sat on a high-level commission set up by Francis to overhaul Vatican finances and administration, but they were later accused of leaking sensitive documents from that body which were later published by Nuzzi and Fittipaldi.
On Tuesday the Vatican court will hear presentations from the defendants' lawyers and there is no indication as to whether the sentence recommendations will be imposed.
Many have speculated that those prosecuted will be given a papal pardon, but Chaouqui, who named her son Peter after St Peter, the first Pope, has said she will refuse such an offer.
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