Skip to comments.Italian politico convicted for pulling son's hair
Posted on 09/13/2011 10:04:41 AM PDT by WesternCulture
An Italian politician was convicted by a Swedish court on Tuesday for assaulting his son while on holiday in Stockholm in a case that has sparked heated debate in both Italy and Sweden.
In finding Giovanni Colasante, 46, a local politician from Canosa di Puglia in southern Italy, guilty of assault, the court fined him 6,600 kronor ($990).
Colasante was arrested on August 23rd as he and his family were about to enter a Stockholm eatery in the city's historic Gamla Stan (Old Town) district.
They were in the Swedish capital on vacation as part of a cruise that was to take them to several Nordic countries.
But when Colasante's 12-year-old son refused to go into the restaurant, the boy's father reacted and, according to witnesses, attacked the young lad.
He lifted his son up by the hair, eye witness Deniz Cinkitas told the Aftonbladet newspaper following the incident.
Other guests at the restaurant called police and Colasante was placed under arrest for breaking Sweden's laws outlawing corporal punishment, putting a dent in the remainder of the family's travel plans.
While no one denies that a disagreement took place, exactly how Colasante may have treated his son remains a matter of interpretation.
According to the district court's ruling, four witnesses testified to seeing Colasante pull his son's hair before rushing over to prevent any further violence.
However, testimony regarding the blows that Colasante allegedly dealt out was less certain. As a result, the Italian politician was convicted of abuse based solely on having pulled his son's hair.
Despite the fact that an adult was seen to have committed violence against a child, the court deemed the assault to be minor as Colasante only caused his son pain for a few seconds.
In deciding on Colasante's punishment, the court took into account that he has been held by police since his arrest.
The fact that Colasante was held against his will and saddled with travel restrictions is unusual for minor offences, but occurred in this case because the court wanted to make sure that he didn't leave the country.
The Italian embassy in Stockholm refused to comment on the verdict, but confirmed embassy official had been in contact with Colasante.
We have just gotten word of this sentence, and he will discuss with his lawyer what he will do next, Caterina Gioiella, embassy First Secretary told The Local.
Colasante's case has garnered a great deal of attention in the media in Italy, which is among the 11 EU countries without a law forbidding corporal punishment.
Sweden was the first to introduce a formal ban on corporal punishment back in 1979 and a slew of countries have since followed suit. The Swedish ban has faced scrutiny and been roundly criticised in some areas of the Italian media.
Mali Nilsson, responsible for the international work on corporal punishment at Save the Children Sweden, has followed the debate in Italy.
She has concluded that the discussion has been based on an incorrect view of Swedish legislation.
"It is thought that the law is intended to criminalise parents and that neighbours should report one another. But we know that the law has not led to more parents losing their children. Nor was that the intention; the purpose is preventative - to protect children," she said.
Of the EU's 27 member states, 16 have a law against corporal punishment. In Italy it is expressly forbidden in schools, but not in the home.
Save the Children Italy lobbies for a change in the law, but has noted that Colasante's case has stirred such strong emotions in the country that a planned campaign on the issue could be put on ice, Mali Nilsson explained.
"They may have to wait with their campaign. But my colleagues also say that the case has at least prompted a debate, and that could be something," she said.
IMO, this evidently is a case of child abuse.
Over here in Scandinavia, physical violence is not seen as a constructive way of dealing with disobedient children. Perhaps we are overly politically correct and so on, but have a look at the end result; 95% of all Nordic youth are well mannered, well educated, abide the law and will end up as productive citizens sooner than members of biker gangs, drug mafias or Al-Qaeda.
Well, uh, there was ONE Norwegian who got a little out of control recently...
I wonder how the story might be different if Giovanni Colasante happened to be Muslim?
“.....Nordic youth are well mannered, well educated, abide the law and will end up as productive citizens sooner than members of biker gangs, drug mafias or Al-Qaeda.”
Ever heard the old cliche about Apples, and Oranges?
I grew up in a large Italian family. We constantly hug, kiss, smack, pinch, yell and talk with our hands. IOW, we’re an animated bunch. I’ve never pulled the hair of any of my children, nor have I ever raised a hand to them. It’s hard to say that the pulling of the hair was abuse any more than leading someone by their ear would be. I only know that the idea of a court telling me that I can’t discipline my own child should I feel the need to, makes me never want to step foot on the soil of that court’s Country.
The same thing could be said about Japan. I wonder what the two cultures have in common. Hmmm...
Its hard to say that the pulling of the hair was abuse any more than leading someone by their ear would be.
We had a nun who used to do both to a couple of guys in my 6th grade class every day - she was a nun from the order of Sisters of Mercy - isn’t that a hoot. She was really scary.
Just curious - does the phrase "Nordic youth" include or exclude immigrants?
I had the Sisters of Mercy, too. They were rough as hell. Most of us grew up to be decent people and not members of biker gangs or drug mafiosos, lol!
My husband’s family lives in Sicily - and while they are a gentle bunch, the good people of Palermo are a wild and wooley citizenry. They’d ALL be arrested for going into a Norwegian restaurant, if truth be told.
The EU is a disaster and so are their crazy politically correct laws. Just ask Geert Wilders.
Obviously one of the 5%.
Discipline is one thing. But pulling the kid’s hair? Really? What are you, a twelve-year-old girl?
Most of us grew up to be decent people and not members of biker gangs or drug mafiosos,
Yes, I was too scared no to:)
My son’s great grandparents were from Sicily as well. Came to America and did quite well. And, yes most Italians/Sicilians would be in Norwegian jails as well as Polish/Irish people (me)LOL.
And the rowdy English, the heavy smoking French, and the vodka-appreciating Russians.
The Sicilians after one or two generations did amazingly well in America. And they had quite a bit to overcome.
I think some of those Sisters of Mercy were Sicilians, lol!
That’s so funny! So true. Those craaaaaazy nuns!
Damn! Correction: I meant Sweden. I wish we could edit ourselves here.
1. Physical force and violence are not necessarily the same thing. It is begging the question to assert that the father committed a violent act.
2. Though I know very little of Sweden, I have trouble believing that a social consensus of abhorrence for corporal punishment for children dates back any more than a few decades. I would expect to find that earlier generations of Scandinavians would have been quite surprised to have been informed that moderate corporal punishment of children was something alien to their culture. Here too, I suspect you are over-stating your case.
3. If we are going to indulge in rights talk, can we discuss the natural right of parents to have their authority over their children not subverted by the meddling omnicompetent State? Can we discuss the natural right of children to look to their parents first as guides and models, without the State competing for their loyalty and affection? Can we discuss the impertinence of novel, state-manufactured rights presuming to displace human rights that derive from human nature itself?