The Poor And Hungry Should Not Be Punished For Stealing Food, Italian Court Rules

Italy's top criminal court has ruled that a hungry homeless man who took a package of hot dogs from a supermarket committed no crime.

Roman Ostriakov had been about to leave the store after paying for breadsticks but not for the hot dogs and some cheese worth €4.07 he had in his pocket.

He was convicted of theft, and sentenced by a lower court in Genoa to six months in prison and a €100 fine, the Associated Press reports.

A homeless woman begs in Rome (file picture)
A homeless woman begs in Rome (file picture)
Alex E. Proimos via Getty Images

The Rome-based Cassation Court on Monday ruled that Ostriakov had taken the food “in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment” and that it was therefore not a crime.

A columnist in Turin newspaper La Stampa wrote Tuesday the high court's ruling "reminds everyone that in a civilized country not even the worst of men can die of hunger."

Citing the ruling, declared it “right” and “pertinent”, continuing that it derives from a concept that “informed the Western world for centuries, it is called humanity.”

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