Italy quake town sues Charlie Hebdo

A general view after earthquake that levelled the town in Amatrice, central Italy on Sept 1, 2016.
A general view after earthquake that levelled the town in Amatrice, central Italy on Sept 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Amatrice, the Italian town devastated by last month's deadly earthquake, is suing French weekly Charlie Hebdo for defamation over a series of cartoons about the disaster.

The satirical magazine caused an outcry in Italy by publishing three pasta-themed cartoons on the subject of the quake, including one portraying victims crushed under layers of lasagna.

"It amounts to a macabre, tactless and inconceivable insult to the victims of a natural catastrophe," the town council's lawyer, Mario Cicchetti, told reporters after the largely symbolic legal move was announced.

Published only days after the quake struck on Aug 24, killing nearly 300 people, the cartoons struck a raw nerve, notably prompting Interior Minister Angelino Alfano to say he knew where the authors "could stick their pencils".

The French publication responded with a follow-up cartoon showing a woman crushed under ruins and the caption: "It is not Charlie Hebdo who builds your houses, it is the mafia."

There was no immediate response from the French publication to the suit.