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Berlusconi leaves hospital

By Babs Odukoya   |   20 December 2009   |   11:17 am  

With bandages on his nose and cheek, Berlusconi waved at waiting journalists and onlookers as he was driven from Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital in a motorcade.

A banner reading “Welcome Home” was seen at the entrance to his villa, Ansa news agency reported.

The prime minister had been expected to go there from the hospital, but had not arrived several hours later. He has been advised by doctors to rest for at least two weeks and has cancelled various engagements, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has confirmed.

The attacker had used a replica model of Milan cathedral to hit the prime minister as he was signing autographs.

‘More serene’

The attack has sparked debate in Italy, where his political party said some websites had preached hatred for Berlusconi and praised the attacker for his actions.

But Berlusconi, in a statement after his release, said: “If, after what happened, there is a better awareness of the need for calmer and more honest language in Italian politics, this pain will not have been in vain.

“These last days, I have felt that even some political opposition leaders have come closer.”

His spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti, said the Italian PM had a “more serene” night from Wednesday to yesterday, and he awoke “calm”.

He had been expected to be released on Wednesday, but doctors kept him in hospital for a further night after “persistent pain”. Reports said he had suffered severe headaches after the injuries caused an old neck injury to flare up.

On Wednesday, a judge remanded his alleged attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, in custody. He rejected a plea from his lawyer that he be transferred from police custody to a psychiatric hospital temporarily.

The judge said Tartaglia was still capable of carrying out a similar act, Ansa reported.

Also on Wednesday, security guards on the seventh floor of the hospital where Berlusconi was staying apprehended a man who said he wanted to speak to the prime minister.

An anti-terrorism police official in Milan said the man “wanted to pay a visit on the premier at 2 a.m.” and made it to the entrance of the seventh floor of Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital where Berlusconi, 73, and other patients were being treated.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said police questioned the 26-year-old Turin man at Milan police headquarters but planned to release him, saying he was apparently a supporter of the premier. A search of the man’s parked car found “hockey sticks and kitchen knives,” the official said.

The suspect apparently plays hockey, but he will be cited for transporting the knives without justification, the official said.

The man, whose identity was not immediately released, was unarmed when he reached the seventh floor, the official said.

 



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