UAAR: historic ruling for freedom of belief

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The second section of the Rome Court of Appeals has finally ended the long-running diatribe between the UAAR and the City of Verona by requiring the latter to respect the dictates of the Constitution. FOB congratulates the UAAR and those who have done their utmost to reaffirm and enforce the inalienable right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief. A UAAR press release is published to learn the details of the matter.

A ruling redeems the rights of atheists and agnostics and condemns the City of Verona: "We live well without D"

The Court of Appeals sentences the City of Verona, which in 2013 had refused to display posters of Uaar's Let's Live Well Without D campaign, to pay 50,000 euros in compensation.

After a troubled process that has seen Uaar in litigation with the Municipality of Verona since 2013, in a ruling released yesterday, the second section of the Court of Appeals of Rome definitively condemned the Veneto city to pay compensation of 50,000 euros to the association, full payment of court costs, and the immediate posting of the posters it censured at the time.

Posters of the information campaign circulated freely throughout the rest of Italy in 2013, Let's live well without D: a large yellow-black image (Uaar's social colors) with the word Dio (God), whose initial crossed out by an X reminded citizens that "ten million Italians live well without D." And that "when they are discriminated against, Uaar is on their side."

Message censured by Flavio Tosi's then-Leghist junta as "offensive and potentially harmful to any religion." At last, the Court of Appeals - following, moreover, the Supreme Court, which had already ruled in 2020 by annulling the previous ruling on remand - believes on the contrary that it deserves "the protection under Article 19 of the Constitution granted to 'freedom of conscience,' in this case referring to the 'profession of a negative religious belief' (...) and to the prospect in a positive sense of existence without God. The message contained in the poster also deserves protection under Article 21 of the Constitution, concerning freedom of manifestation of thought."

Discriminatory, therefore, is the conduct of the municipality, which in the unmotivated and specious censure has harmed the "right of those who recognize themselves in such values, to profess the atheist and/or agnostic rationalist creed, of which the Uaar is the bearer and guarantor," and which is therefore obliged to compensate for the non-pecuniary damage caused.

"I express deep satisfaction with this ruling – says Roberto Grendene, Uaar secretary – Our reasons for denouncing overt discrimination and illiberal censorship, both of freedom of expression and of the freedom not to believe, have been reaffirmed. Censorship then even more grotesque in the face of the space always instead granted without any qualms to religious communication even in public spaces."

"This ruling – declares Adele Orioli, head of Uaar legal initiatives – though by merit of Uaar, goes far beyond its associational dimension, because it affects the individualities of all Italian nonbelievers who can finally and freely say they are 'godless.' We also thank for this historic conclusion lawyers Fabio Corvaja and Francesca Leurini for the perseverance and unimpeachable professionalism they have shown."

Source: UAAR website