The illegal immigrant was one of the many who had benefitted from Malgesini’s generosity. The priest had been handing out meals to migrants in the city center when Ridha attacked him, stabbing him several times.
The assailant had no history of mental illness, and police tests revealed no “certified psychological problems”. Despite this, the diocese of Como, the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), Caritas, and Italy’s mainstream media unanimously diagnosed the killer as “mentally ill”.
Roberto Bernasconi, president of the Como section of pro-migrant charity Caritas, blamed the murder on the anti-migrant “climate of hatred and intolerance that is fomented in the city”.
The pro-migrant priest made headlines last year after the Como municipality fined him for supporting migrant squatters that had taken over in the St. Francis church.
The murderer, from Tunisia, has repeatedly violated immigration law and has been imprisoned on several occasions. Facing yet another deportation order, the illegal migrant lodged an appeal that was to be heard on the day of the murder.
The prosecutor’s office said the motive was linked to the fear of repatriation. “Malgesini was convinced that a plot was underway to repatriate him to Tunisia and that the priest was involved in that plot.”