Italy Rules That Stealing Food Is Not a Crime If You Are Poor and Hungry

The highest Italian court has ruled that stealing small amounts of food if you are hungry and in need is not illegal
Alleviating hunger is no longer a crime in Italy.

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Alleviating hunger is no longer a crime in Italy.

In Italy, one homeless man, Roman Ostriakov breathed a sigh of relief when he was cleared of all charges by Italy’s highest court for stealing cheese and sausages worth €3; ($4.50 USD) from a supermarket in 2011.

This marks the historic day when the Italian court of cassation decided that stealing small amounts of food when you are hungry and in need is not a crime.

Ostriakov was reported by a fellow customer in 2011 who saw him attempt to steal the food, and was originally sentenced in 2015 to six months in jail and a $100 fine. His sentence was overturned, as the judges believed that "the right to survival prevails over property,” and noted that according to recent poverty statistics, 615 people become homeless or poor every day in Italy.

The condition of the defendant and the circumstances in which the seizure of merchandise took place prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of an immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of necessity," wrote the court in a statement, according to the BBC.

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