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Italian court moves to expel former Ku Klux Klan leader

David Duke, former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, s
David Duke, former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, s

MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian court has ruled in favor of the expulsion of ex-Ku Klux Klan leader and former Louisiana politician David Duke from Italy, where he had been living for a year and a half, local police said on Thursday.

Duke, 63, moved to the Valle di Cadore mountain village after being granted a visa to study and write there by the Italian embassy in Malta, said Luciano Meneghetti, deputy police chief in the northern Italian province of Belluno.

Italian police subsequently found that Switzerland had issued in 2009 a travel and residence ban against Duke valid throughout the entire Schengen area, a group of 26 European countries that have abolished internal border controls.

Duke had tried to fight an initial request to leave Italy by lodging an appeal with the Belluno administrative court.

Meneghetti said the court had rejected the appeal and ruled in favor of the expulsion of Duke, whom it considered "socially dangerous for his racist and anti-semitic views".

Duke's Italian lawyer Filippo Augusto said the former U.S. politician left Italy immediately after the court ruling. He said Duke could appeal again but no decision had yet been taken.

Duke ran for the U.S. presidency in 1998 and 1992. He has often denied that the extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust took place.

(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; editing by Andrew Roche)

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