A man in Italy has been sentenced to two years in prison for hiring a hitman to break the hands of his son, who is a surgeon by trade.
The convicted man — whose name has not been published, but who is from the south suburbs of Turin — was accused of hiring a Romanian hitman for 2,500 euros (about $3,000 in U.S. dollars) to break his son’s hands in retaliation for his son’s homosexuality.
“My son is a thug,” the father reportedly told the hitman, according to the Italian newspaper la Repubblica. “Break his fingers.”
But the hitman, realizing that the son was not connected to anything nefarious, later turned against the father and informed the son of the plot against him.
Although he had known of his son’s sexuality for a few years, after photos of the surgeon and a well-known actor circulated in the tabloid press, the man became enraged and hired two hitmen to beat up his son’s partner, placing the partner in the hospital. The son was forced to adopt additional protective measures, including changing his locks and never leaving his home unaccompanied.
“Apart from the patients I knew, I was afraid to make visits, never knowing who I might meet,” the son said.
The dispute between father and son has been ongoing for the past four years, beginning with an incident in which the son intervened in a physical fight between his parents. In response, the father allegedly threatened to have the son’s legs broken, according to Newsweek.
Shortly afterward, the father filed a police complaint trying to cast himself as the victim, falsely claiming that his son had removed some of his teeth without permission. The father’s fits of anger caused his son and his wife to develop a “well-founded fear for their safety,” prosecutors allege, with the man’s wife of 42 years ultimately filing for separation.
In the most recent incident involving the Romanian hitman, the father was charged and ultimately convicted on charges of aggravated assault and stalking. Following the trial, Judge Ludovico Morello, of the Court of Turin, sentenced him to two years in prison.
Italy’s lower house of parliament recently approved legislation that would make bias-motivated violence against women and LGBTQ people a hate crime. The bill, which would impose additional penalties for those convicted of a hate crime, must be approved by the upper house before it becomes law.
In a letter to the court, Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino condemned the anti-LGBTQ motive behind the attack and pointed to it as an example of a crime that would carry harsher penalties if the hate crimes statute passed.
“We need a law as soon as possible that helps a profound cultural change,” the mayor wrote. “We need this cultural change to pass from the institutions, from the school, from the families. citizen. This hatred must be defeated as soon as possible. Without any exception.”
LGBTQ rights group Arcigay Torino wrote in a Facebook post that the father’s sentencing offered closure for his son, who was targeted “because he loves another man.”
“Arcigay Torino expresses solidarity with the victim: no person should live in fear because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the group said in a statement. “Precisely for this reason, we underline the importance of a law that will protect LGBTQIA+ people from such abuses.”
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