Two top officials at Vatican Radio were convicted of polluting the environment with electromagnetic waves from radio broadcasting towers in a suburb north of Rome.

A Rome court May 9 found Jesuit Father Pasquale Borgomeo, Vatican Radio's general director, and Cardinal Roberto Tucci, president of the radio's management committee, guilty of "dangerous showering of objects," a criminal charge, and sentenced them to 10 days in jail.

The court acquitted the radio's top technician, Costantino Pacifici, of any wrongdoing.

The court decision comes after a five-year legal battle waged by residential and local environmental groups against the radio's top directors.

Inhabitants around the radio's transmission center alleged that its levels of electromagnetic radiation had increased the risk of cancer in children.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's program director, said the radio would appeal the court's decision.

While the radio "appreciated the acquittal of one of the defendants," it would challenge the court decision that "remains clearly unjustified," Father Lombardi said May 9 in a statement he read on Vatican Radio.

He said the radio's Santa Maria di Galeria transmission center outside Rome had always met with international norms of accepted levels of electromagnetic radiation "even before the existence of Italian standards."


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