Rome: The Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy convicted a pensioner of "contempt for the nation" and fined him 1,000 euros after the man called Italy a "shit country".

The ruling came after Italy's paramilitary Carabinieri police force took the 71-year-old man to court for saying "What a shit country Italy is. Why are you wasting time with such crap", to officers who fined him for driving on a single headlamp.

The court rejected the man's claim that his words were a rightful expression of free thought. "Freedom of expression cannot translate into coarse and brutal insults that do not correspond to objective criticism," it said in its sentence.

Interpreting the crime, the court said, "To vilify the nation, it is not necessary to commit hostile or violent acts or to display hatred. Insulting the prestige or honour of the Italian people is sufficient."


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