(AFP) – Oct 25, 2012
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI's butler was to be imprisoned in a Vatican police cell Thursday after the prosecution decided not to appeal against his 18-month prison sentence for leaking papal documents, the Vatican said.
Gabriele, 46, married with three children and a Vatican citizen, had been under house arrest since he was found guilty on October 6 of stealing documents from the pope's apartments. A judicial source said later he would not be appealing against the verdict.
"Given that no appeals have been lodged against the sentence of October 6 in respect of Mr Paolo Gabriele, it becomes definitive,", a statement from Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See press office, said.
"As a result, on the warrant of the president of the court the prosecutor gave orders this morning for his imprisonment, in carrying out the sentence," the statement said.
"The warrant should be executed during the day."
The former butler was found guilty of leaking hundreds of sensitive Vatican documents in a case that has been dubbed "Vatileaks" and included allegations by a former governor of the city state of massive fraud within its walls.
The Vatican statement said that the sentence "puts a full stop to a sad affair which has had very painful consequences.".
Gabriele had developed "his criminal plan without instigation or encouragement from anyone else, but from his personal convictions which cannot be defended," the statement added.
The statement said that the possibility remained of a papal pardon remains.
While this is "a sovereign act" of the pope "reasonably it presupposes penitence for the crime and a sincere request to the sovereign pontiff and all those who have been unjustly offended."
Vatican police said they had found more than 1,000 secret documents, some photocopies but others originals, in Gabriele's home stolen from the papal palace, including letters from cardinals and politicians and papers the pontiff himself had marked "To Be Destroyed".
During his trial Gabriele had said he wanted to "help" the pope who, he claimed, had been kept in ignorance of scandals inside the Vatican. The documents were handed to an Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.
Gabriele was found guilty of aggravated theft and initially given a three year jail term but the presiding judge reduced the sentence on the grounds of his past service to the Catholic Church and his apology to the pope for betraying him.
The Vatican statement said that the crime had been serious: a "personal offence" to the pope, "violation of the right to confidentiality of several people", "damage to the Holy See and its institutions", "scandal for the community of the faithful", "obstacle in the communication between the bishops and the Holy See", "disturbance during several months of the serenity of the working community" in the Vatican.
It added that the trial had been characterised by "transparency, fairness, full respect of the rights of the defence" and the sentence had been "moderate and equitable." A procedure to strip him of his job had been opened, it said.
Vatican computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti will go on trial on November 5 on charges of helping Gabriele steal the papers.
The Vatican has no jail but analysts said some in the Church feared Gabriele would be too talkative should he end up in an Italian prison, cut off from the Holy See.
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