Italy’s Former Prime Minister Released an Angry Video

September 17, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. accusation [ak-yoo-ZEY-shuh n] (n.) – a charge or claim that someone has done something illegal or wrong
Example: He pleads not guilty to the accusations of bribery.

2. innocent [IN-uh-suh nt] (adj.) – not guilty of a crime or offense
Example: A person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.

3. house arrest [hous uh-REST] (n.) – the state of being kept as a prisoner in one’s own house, rather than in a prison
Example: The convicted criminal was under house arrest after filing an appeal in court because of his age.

4. conviction [kuh n-VIK-shuh n] (n.) – a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense
Example: Enough valid evidence led to the suspect’s conviction.

5. sentence [SEN-tns] (v.) – to declare the punishment decided for an offender
Example: Ten army officers were sentenced to life imprisonment.


Read the text below.
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former prime minister, has broadcast a video in which he hits out angrily over his prison sentence for tax fraud.

The video appeared after the Italian supreme court upheld Berlusconi’s conviction following a three-day hearing. The disgraced politician was highly emotional as he spoke to the camera using notes, with the Italian and European Union flags in the background. During the nine-minute video, he also criticized his country’s judicial record.

In his video, 76-year-old Berlusconi claimed that he is an innocent victim of an incredible series of accusations and trials that had nothing to do with reality. Berlusconi said the decision was based on nothing, and was depriving him of his freedom and political rights. 

Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison at the conclusion of the trial in October last year. His sentence was automatically reduced to one year. Given his age, he is unlikely to go to jail. He will face some form of house arrest or humility of having to perform community service.

Berlusconi has faced a string of trials since he left his position. Appeals are still pending after he was convicted for getting involved with an under-age prostitute and for arranging the leak and publication in a newspaper of a police wiretap.

The billionaire tycoon is finally convicted, but he still plans for a court appeal to avoid being banned from public office. If approved, it would mean that Berlusconi can still remain as senator and leader of People of Freedom Party (PDL).

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, what is Silvio Berlusconi’s purpose in creating such video? Please explain your answer.
·         Is it proper for the former prime minister to post a video of him showing his outrage because of his jail sentence? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         If you were accused of something you did not commit, what would you do? Why?
·         How do you think the government can make sure that the laws are properly implemented?


September 17, 2013