Racism in Italy: Judge asks black lawyer if he has degree

Naples lawyer asked by judge to show proof he was actually a lawyer.

Hillary Sedu arrived in Italy from Nigeria when he was only six months old, grew up in Caserta, near Naples, and over the years he obtained Italian citizenship.

Today he is a lawyer, fighting for the recognition of civil rights for migrants, and he is also a member of the Naples Bar Association, reports Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

On 3 February, when it was his turn to discuss a case at the Naples juvenile court, the presiding honorary judge asked him to present proof of his lawyer's credentials, Sedu writes on Facebook.

Hillary Sedu (centre) has lived in Italy since he was six months old.

However after having seen his lawyer's card, the magistrate went further, according to Sedu: "Stupified or stupid, she asks me if I am a lawyer, then she asks me if I have a degree."

“Impulsive as I am, I was tempted to insult her," he wrote, but decided against it for the sake of his client and her child whose case was being heard.


Sedu's post opened up a new debate about racism in Italy, however for him the episode was "not racism, just stupidity."

Following the controversy, Sedu met again with the magistrate today - together with the presidents of the juvenile court and the bar association - and the pair made peace.

"We must learn to coexist between different ethnic groups" - Sedu told Italian newspaper La Repubblica - "and no longer be surprised by the diversity of skin or physical characteristics."


Photos Hillary Sedu Facebook profile