Italian neo-Nazi Gets 12 Years in Prison for Shooting African Migrants

Luca Traini, 29, found guilty of attempted massacre aggravated by racial motives and illegal possession of a weapon

Italian national, Luca Traini arrested for wounding several foreign nationals in a drive-by shooting in Macerata, February 8th, 2018

Luca Traini, an Italian neo-Nazi sympathizer who wounded six African migrants in a drive-by shooting earlier this year, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on Wednesday. 

A court in Macerata, the central Italian town where the crime took place, found the 29-year-old guilty of attempted massacre aggravated by racist motives and illegal possession of a weapon, according to the ANSA news agency. 

On February 3, the 29-year-old Traini drove around Macerata shooting at  black people, in what he said was an act of revenge for the murder of a local 18-year-old female heroin addict. A Nigerian drug dealer has been accused of the woman's murder. 

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Traini is an unemployed body builder, with a neo-Nazi tattoo on his forehead. At the end of his rampage, police arrested him on the steps of a military monument, where he stood draped in the Italian flag, holding up his arm in a Fascist salute. 

Wednesday's first instance ruling, which can be appealed, was in line with what the prosecution had asked for. Traini opted for a fast-track trial, which allows for more lenient sentencing. 

In a statement before the court retired to deliberate, Traini said he was not mentally unstable, and denied any racist intent. "They tell me I am crazy or borderline, but I just had a difficult childhood," he said according to ANSA.

The Macerata shootings influenced the national debate on migration during the campaign leading up to the March 4 general elections, resulting in the formation of a populist, anti-immigration government comprising the nationalist League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.