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The International Liaison Committee of Freethinkers and Atheists (ILCFA) has launched a petition to express solidarity with Italian judge Luigi Tosti. Judge Tosti was first sentenced to jail and then dismissed as a judge for refusing to administer justice under a crucifix. The petition is available here: http://www.cilalp.org/spip.php?article343

Due to an edict issued by the Fascist government of Mussolini in 1926, all Italian courtrooms are required to prominently display a crucifix. In 2005, Judge Tosti, who is Jewish, was sentenced to a 7 month term of imprisonment because he refused to administer justice under a crucifix. In July, 2009, this ruling was overturned by the Cassation Court, Italy’s highest court of appeals. The Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) responded by dismissing Judge Tosti on January 22, 2010. The CSM said in its ruling that Tosti was guilty of refusing to do his job in the Marche town of Camerino from May 2005 to January 2006.

Tosti said he would appeal the sentence to the Cassation Court and, failing that, to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. Last year the ECHR issued a landmark, but non-binding, ruling against crosses in the classrooms of Italian state schools.

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