Reviled drunk driver advertises watches
A Roma gypsy recently sentenced to six years in jail for killing four youths in a drunk driving incident is using his new-found fame to help sell watches on the Internet.
According to his publicity agent, Marco Ahmetovic, 22, will soon be putting his face to a publicity campaign for a line of clothes and accessories including perfume and jeans.
Ahmetovic, who is currently under house arrest, was convicted last month of killing four teenagers while driving his van one night in April. Hopelessly drunk, he careered off the road and hit the four who were on the pavement.
The incident received heavy media coverage and the culprit found himself at the centre of nationwide condemnation, fuelled by rising tensions over the presence of Roma gypsies in Italy.
It is unclear how much Ahmetovic is being paid for his services to the previously unheard of 'Roma Line' brand, which apparently intends to sell its wares on E-bay.
His agent, Alessio Sundas, vigorously rejected criticism of the initiative when interviewed on a radio programme.
''It's the fault of journalists that Ahmetovic has become a star. I'm taking a gamble here, trying to make a murderer a star. I'm not ashamed. It's my job,'' he said.
The news brought immediate condemnation from politicians in Rome. Democratic Party MP Maurizio Fistarol formally asked the justice minister whether it was legal for someone under house arrest to use his status as a convicted criminal for commercial ends.
''This terrible commercial initiative is the fruit of a distorted vision of reality,'' he said. ''It's offensive to the families of the youths who died.''