In Brief

Charlie Hebdo magazine sued over earthquake comics

Italian town of Amatrice outraged by cartoon depicting earthquake victims as pasta

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An Italian town is pursuing legal action against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, following the publication of a cartoon depicting earthquake victims as pasta.

Officials in Amatrice, which was devastated by an earthquake last month that killed nearly 300 people, have asked an Italian prosecutor to investigate the magazine for "aggravated defamation".

One of the cartoons, entitled "Earthquake Italian Style", portrays a bandaged and bloodied man as "penne in tomato sauce", a similarly injured woman as "Penne au gratin" and a collapsed building with blood and feet sticking out of it as "Lasagne".

Mario Cicchetti, a legal representative for Amatrice, said if the lawsuit succeeds the town "would seek civil damages," despite the cartoons being published in France.

"It amounts to a macabre, tactless and inconceivable insult to the victims of a natural catastrophe," said Cicchetti.

In response to the initial outcry over the cartoons, Charlie Hebdo released a second cartoon, with the caption 'Italians... it's not Charlie Hebdo who built your homes, it's the Mafia!', the BBC reports, in reference to allegations that a number of buildings in Amatrice were not built to correct standards.

The magazine's office was targeted by terrorists in January 2015, when 11 people were killed, prompting millions of people around the world to post messages saying "Je suis Charlie".

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