Sentence formal, Gabriele begins 18-month prison sentence
October 25, 2012
A guilty verdict against Paolo Gabriele has become final, as neither prosecution nor defense has filed an appeal, the Vatican announced on October 25. Gabriele, who had been under house arrest awaiting the final outcome of his trial, officially began serving his 18-month prison sentence in a Vatican cell during the day.
The Vatican Secretariat of State released a statement saying that the final verdict “puts a full stop to the end of a sad affair which has had very painful consequences.” The statement continued:
A personal offence was done to the Holy Father; the right to privacy of the many people who, by virtue of their office, addressed themselves to him was violated; the Holy See and a number of her institutions suffered prejudice; communications between the bishops of the world and the Holy See were hindered, and scandal was caused among the community of the faithful. Finally, for a period of many months the serenity of the working community which daily serves the Successor of Peter was disturbed.
The Secretariat of State said that the conviction of Gabriele, after “a judicial process which took place transparently and justly,” should lay to rest all suspicions that the “Vatileaks” scandal involved a broader conspiracy. Gabriele acted alone, the Vatican statement stressed.
Gabriele can still hope for a pardon from the Pope, the statement continued. But a pardon would “reasonably presuppose repentance on the part of the accused, and a sincere request for pardon to the Supreme Pontiff and those who have been unjustly offended.” As he begins his sentence, Gabriele will apparently be confined in a small cell at the Vatican police headquarters; there are no facilities within the Vatican for long-term prisoners.