May 26, 2020 / 2:58 PM / 3 months ago

Fact check: Italian government has not called for Bill Gates arrest

A widely shared post on social media makes the claim that the Italian government has called for billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates to be arrested. The headline of this post is untrue.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The post includes a screenshot of a YouTube video headlined “Italian government call for arrest of Bill Gates” ( here , here , here ).

The original video, still visible online, stems from a May 14, 2020 parliamentary session in which members discussed a new COVID-19 decree ( here ; www.governo.it/node/14602 ). During the discussion, Sara Cunial, an independent member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies (part of the country’s Parliament) and formerly a part of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement (M5S) party, criticized the decree and the Italian government’s position towards the pharmaceutical industry.

Notably, in 2018,  Cunial was briefly suspended and subsequently reinstated by the M5S party after she compared vaccines to “genocide” on a now-deleted post on social media ( here ). On April 17, 2019, she was expelled from M5S for accusing the party of being tied to “agro-mafias”, ( here ).

During her statement presented in this claim, Cunial denounced Gates’ alleged calls for population control, his “sterilization campaign” in India, as well as his connections to telecommunication firms behind the adoption of 5G networks in the U.S. Cunial also denounces the fact that Gates is one of the primary funders of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the video, it is possible to hear negative reactions to Cunial’s remarks among parliamentary members. At one point, when jeers and booing interrupt Cunial’s statement, the vice-president of the chamber, Fabio Rampelli, intervenes to bring the session to order, ( webtv.camera.it/evento/16202# ; here ).

Near the conclusion of her remarks Cunial, addressing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, implies Gates should face charges, which is likely where this claim stems from, stating: “Next time you get a call from the philanthropist Bill Gates, forward it directly to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity…” ( here ).

Cunial’s remarks, however, do not represent the Italian government’s stance, but the opinion of one parliamentary member. It is therefore untrue to state that the “Italian government” is calling for Bill Gates to be arrested, as these posts and video descriptions read.

VERDICT

False headline claim. The call for Bill Gates to be arrested is the opinion of Sara Cunial, an independent member of parliament in Italy, and not the stance of the “Italian government”. 

 

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here

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