Mon, Jul 28, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Mussolini calls for obligatory chemical castration

THE OBSERVER , ROME

Alessandra Mussolini, grand-daughter of Italy's fascist dictator Benito, is leading a campaign to have Italian child abusers chemically castrated to stop them from reoffending.

Mussolini, a deputy for the post-fascist Alleanza Nazionale party, has proposed a legal bill for parliament's consideration this autumn after Italy was shocked this week by the discovery of an internet "Fun Club" that had involved the sexual abuse of over 70 children.

"Pedophilia has gone beyond extremes now. It would be nice if it was possible to stick these butchers on an island. But that's not possible, so the least we can do is treat them," Mussolini said.

"I think it is time for Italy to carry out a good experiment," she added. "These people are sick. They need to be made inoffensive. Reoffenders must be made to undergo hormone treatment to reduce their libido."

Italian police arrested seven people in Italy this week, who had allegedly been swapping their children and those of friends with other members of their `club' based in the US, UK, Switzerland and Denmark.

It comes after a series of other arrests including that of a Catholic priest near the town of Bergamo, who was thought to have abused children in his care.

When Mussolini first called for chemical castration several years ago, her proposal was dismissed as a `Nazi' idea by Father Gianni Baget Bozzo, a priest close to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

But this week, Justice Minister Roberto Castelli said it was up to parliament to decide, when it debates proposed anti-pedophilia legislation in the autumn, whether to introduce this heavy penalty for reoffenders.

But Francesco d'Agostino, president of Italy's parliamentary bioethics committee, warned that "every form of involuntary sterilization" must be condemned and any kind of obligatory health treatment was "unethical."

Chemical castration, which involves a regular injection of drugs to reduce testosterone levels, is already in use in several US states as well as Sweden, Denmark, France, Norway and Switzerland. But in most cases it is optional, not obligatory. Many of those who voluntarily undergo treatment do not reoffend.

"It's possible to remove sex drive or capacity for sex for as long as the patient takes certain drugs," said Francesco Monaco, director of the neurology clinic at the University of Novara. "But there is no pill to heal or halt pedophiles."

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