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Italian army general Vannacci suspended over controversial book

Vannacci is set to appeal disciplinary measure.

Italy's defence ministry on Wednesday suspended army general Roberto Vannacci from duty for 11 months over his controversial bestselling book Il mondo al contrario.

The disciplinary measure by defence minister Guido Crosetto will see Vanncacci's salary halved for the duration of his 11-month suspension, news agency Adnkronos reports.

Following the book's publication last summer, Crosetto stated that the general's "personal ramblings" had discredited Italy's armed forces.

The reason for the suspension, the general's lawyer Giorgio Carta told Adnkronos, is over the book in which Vannacci claimed that "gays are not normal", among other disparaging comments against migrants, minorities, feminists and environmentalists.

Carta said the defence ministry cited a "lack of sense of responsibility" in writing the book which compromised the "prestige and reputation" of the armed forces administration as well as creating "possible disruptive and divisive emulative effects within the military structure".

The suspension, which Carta says the general will appeal, is the latest in a series of woes for the 55-year-old former paratrooper commander who on Monday was placed under investigation for incitement to racial hatred in his book.

This was was followed on Tuesday with news of a lawsuit from top volleyball player Paola Egonu about whom Vannacci wrote in his book that "even though she is an Italian by citizenship, it is clear that her physical features do not represent Italianness".

On Saturday it emerged that military prosecutors had put Vannacci under investigation for suspected embezzlement and fraud during his time as military attaché at the Italian embassy in Moscow.

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy premier and leader of the right-wing Lega, offered his support to Vannacci who he hopes will run as a candidate for the party in the upcoming European elections, adding that "investigations are medals".

Salvini responded to the defence ministry's disciplinary measure with a post on X: "An investigation a day, it's ridiculous, how much does the general scare you? Long live freedom of thought and speech, long live the armed forces and the police forces, long live the men and women who defend the honour, freedom and security of Italians every day."

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