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Juppe victim of ‘communists’: Berlusconi

BRUSSELS, Feb 5 (AFP) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed support Thursday for embattled former French premier Alain Juppe, and launched a stinging attack on “political justice” and “communism.”

Berlusconi – no stranger to legal problems himself – won polite applause from an audience of rightwing delegates after the tirade which accompanied an expression of solidarity with Juppe, convicted of corruption last week.

“There is another form of communism. It is communism without communism,” he told a congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Brussels, without specifying which countries he was criticizing.

“It is the most dangerous form, because it is the least visible .. That means one disowns one’s own past, that one washes ones hands piously of all the crimes of the communist regimes .. while keeping the communist methods.”

Such methods include “seeking to eliminate the political adversary, not by the vote or by democracy, but by resorting to political justice, as it used to be in certain countries and as it continues to be in certain countries.”

Berlusconi concluded his tirade, launched at a meeting held in the European Parliament, by saying: “Allow me to address a message of soliarity with Alain Juppe, whom I know and whom I respect deeply.”

Juppe, a close ally of President Jacques Chirac, confounded predictions of his departure from politics Tuesday, announcing he will remain at his elected posts until his appeal against a conviction for illegal party funding.

Berlusconi, known for his inimitable rhetorical style, was hit by new legal problems last month after a top court removed his immunity from prosecution on corruption charges.


                                                              Subject: France news