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Vatileaks and the Pope's butler: Key points to understanding the trial

2012-09-27

For now, the pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, is only accused of 'aggravated theft' of confidential Papal documents. If found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison.

At this point, the investigation on the 'aggravated theft' charge has come to a close, but other charges could follow. They could include an attack on the integrity of the State, slander and disclosure of confidential information.

If the butler is sentenced to prison, he would serve that time at an Italian jail cell, since the Vatican doesn't have a prison.

The other defendant is Claudio Sciarpelletti, a Vatican computer programmer, who is accused of complicity. If found guilty he could be sentenced to a year behind bars. 

According to the prosecutor, Sciarpelletti, would hand over documents, on behalf of others, to the butler, so he could in turn leak them to reporters.

The courtroom is found inside this antique Vatican building. The Penal Code it follows is also quite old. It was approved in Italy back in 1889.

A total of Eight journalists will be allowed inside the courtroom to follow the proceedings. But no photographs or video of any kind are allowed.

Once a sentence is issued, the Pope could grant a so called 'Papal Pardon' to both defendants. But whether he will do that or not, is still unknown.

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