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Above the law

The week's news at a glance.

Rome

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has introduced a bill that would give him immunity from criminal prosecution for as long as he is a member of Parliament. Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon, is currently on trial for allegedly bribing judges in a business deal, and he faces dozens of lawsuits. On the stand last week, he refused to answer the charges, saying that he was being persecuted by “a criminal judiciary.” His party promptly introduced a bill to shield all members of Parliament from prosecution. If passed, the law would not only abort Berlusconi’s trial, it would also free his close friend Cesare Previti, who was sentenced last week to 11 years for bribing judges. Protecting lawmakers from frivolous court cases would be “in the interests of the voters,” Berlusconi said this week, “not in my personal interest.”

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