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Berlusconi to be tried In April

posted 15 Feb 2011, 03:36 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Feb 2011, 03:38 ]

A Milan judge decides to send Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to trial beginning on April 6 on charges of paying for sex with an underage nightclub dancer and abuse of power.

ROME, ITALY (RECENT - FEBRUARY 12, 2011) REUTERS - Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will have to stand trial on charges of underage sex and abuse of power beginning on April 6, a Milan judge decided on Tuesday (February 15).

Italian prosecutors say the prime minister paid for sex with a "significant number" of young women, including

then-17-year-old Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug.

The prosecutors' deposition also alleges that he later exerted improper pressure on officials to have El Mahroug, known by her stage name "Ruby", released from a Milan police station after she was detained on unrelated theft allegations.

Outside the Milan tribunal, locals said Berlusconi now needs to represent his case in front of the court, adding that any judgement should be reserved until the eventual outcome of the trial.

"We must bear in mind that it is a process with three different steps. Therefore, the judgement has to be suspended until the end of the process, not before it's begun or whilst it's on-going," said Mario Brambilla.

Berlusconi has dismissed the accusations against him and has said he has no intention of stepping down and dismissed a weekend demonstration by women across Italy over his involvement in a sex scandal.