Home World Europe News Claudio Sciarpelletti given two months suspended sentence for helping Paolo Gabriele

Claudio Sciarpelletti given two months suspended sentence for helping Paolo Gabriele

A Vatican court has convicted computer expert Claudio Sciarpelletti of helping Pope’s former butler Paolo Gabriele to leak information from confidential papal documents.

Claudio Sciarpelletti, 48, was given a suspended sentence of two months for obstruction of justice.

He was accused of aiding former butler Paolo Gabriele while working as a computer technician in the Vatican.

Paolo Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence this month after he admitted passing documents to a journalist.

Claudio Sciarpelletti had worked for the past 20 years in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and was responsible for the maintenance of all computers.

His lawyer said an anonymous tip-off led Vatican police to search Claudio Sciarpelletti’s desk last May – finding an envelope addressed to Paolo Gabriele containing copies of sensitive documentation that had been leaked to the Italian media.

He had been charged with aiding and abetting Paolo Gabriele in leaking the document.

But the court decided that he was guilty only of obstruction of justice, because he had changed his version of events several times during the investigations.

Paolo Gabriele’s trial heard that he had used the photocopier in his shared office next to the Pope’s library to copy thousands of documents, taking advantage of his unrivalled access to the pontiff.

He later passed some of the documents to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Gianluigi Nuzzi released a best-selling book this year, entitled His Holiness, largely based on the confidential papers and detailing corruption, scandals and infighting.

Its publication sparked the hunt for the source of the leaks inside the Vatican, leading to Paolo Gabriele’s arrest.

Police said they had found thousands of documents at Paolo Gabriele’s home, including some original papers bearing the Pope’s handwriting. Some had the instruction “destroy” written by the Pope in German on them.

Paolo Gabriele confessed to taking the papers, but said he believed the Pope was being manipulated and hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Vatican.

He told his trial that he did not see himself as a thief, but admitted he was guilty of “having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, whom I love as a son would.”

The Vatican has dismissed suspicions of a wider plot, saying that Paolo Gabriele acted alone in obtaining the documents and giving them to the journalist.

Paolo Gabriele is serving his prison term in a special detention room inside the Vatican police station.

The Vatican authorities were worried that if he were to be moved into an Italian prison he might be subject to pressure to reveal secrets which might cause further embarrassment to the Pope.