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October 3, 2012

Vatican police testify in trial of pope's butler

(Continued)

VATICAN CITY —

The Vatican defended its treatment of Gabriele, noting that the cell conformed to international standards, saying that the lights were kept on as a security measure and to prevent Gabriele from harming himself. It said he even asked for them to be kept on so he wouldn't be so lonely.

"He was treated with kid gloves," Cintia testified, adding that Gabriele had "repeatedly" thanked his jailers for treating him and his family so well.

Neither Arru nor her predecessor had ever mentioned improper detention conditions to the press before. Arru said the positive characterization applied after he had been moved to a larger cell and not during his initial detention.

Yet on May 28, five days after his arrest when Gabriele was still in the small cell, Gabriele's then lead lawyer, Carlo Fusco, issued a statement saying his client was "very serene and calm" and made no complaint about his detention conditions.

The Vatican police have warned that they might file a counter complaint against Arru and Gabriele if the Vatican investigation into their allegations is unfounded.

With the last of the witnesses heard Wednesday, part of Arru's defense strategy appeared to take shape: She asked each officer if he had participated in a separate search of Gabriele's apartment in Castel Gandolfo, where the pope spends his summers.

Vatican police are entitled to inspect areas outside of Vatican City without explicit authorization from Italian authorities. But Vatican police not only inspected the Castel Gandolfo apartment, they seized 37 documents from it as well.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said no explicit authorization was needed from Italian authorities since the seized documentation concerned Vatican material found in a Vatican service apartment. Regardless, he said, the court won't admit the documentation since it came from outside Vatican City.

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