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Italian senator convicted for misusing ambulance

James Joyce

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080306...y_ambulance;_ylt=Aupc3GI7C035d7XlpZ5TT1ztiBIF

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian senator who used an ambulance to beat Rome traffic was given a six-month suspended jail sentence on Thursday and fined 200 euros (153 pounds) by a court.

Gustavo Selva boasted publicly in June that he faked illness to get an ambulance to rush him to a television talk-show during U.S. President George W. Bush's visit, when tight security measures snarled traffic. He later praised the ambulance team for its "speed and efficiency".

The stunt outraged Italians and health officials warned Selva could have jeopardised the life of anyone who actually needed an ambulance.

Rome Judge Maria Giulia De Marco ruled that Selva was guilty of aggravated fraud and interruption of public service.

Selva said after the ruling he would not run for re-election next month to avoid hurting allies including Silvio Berlusconi, who polls show is set to win a third term as prime minister.

"The sentence imposes upon me a single and specific political duty ... to renounce my Senate candidacy," Selva said.

But he showed no remorse.

"My conscience is clear," he said.
 

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