AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Luca Bruno, File
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Vatican is a "sacred monster" says PR accused of leaks

Sat 02 Jan 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A woman arrested as part of the Vatican leaks scandal has called the Vatican a "sacred monster" that is untouchable. 

Francesca Chaouqui was a Vatican public relations expert until her arrest two months ago.

She has been charged with leaking confidential documents, a crime under Vatican law, and faces up to eight years behind bars.

She denies the charges. 

The 33-year-old, as well as two others, are alleged to have stolen documents and leaked them to two journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi (pictured) also face charges.

The pair wrote two books respectively which hold allegations of financial misconduct among a number of other acts.

Speaking to The Guardian Francesa Chaouqui said that she is innocent and that she is willing to go to the Vatican jail if found guilty.

She said: "I took an oath of loyalty to that state, and that means accepting their rules, even if they are wrong.

"The Pope is not just head of state, he is the head of my religion, he is God on Earth.

"If they find me guilty, I must go."

As of yet the Vatican has not released any evidence against Francesa Chaouqui or her co-defendants, msgr Lucio Angel Vellejo Baldo or lay person Nicola Maio, or the two journalists.

In the media Spanish msgr Lucio Baldo alleges that he was seduced by Francesa Chaouqui, who he says she told him was a secret agent, and admitted leaking the documents.

Chaqouqui denies the pair engaged in sexual activities.

The media has also highlighted that there is a widely held view that Pope Francis has a number of enemies within the Church who are against his reform proposals.

Speaking about the leaks in November 2015, the pope said: "a mistake was made" when msgr Baldo and Chaouqui were asked to join the papal commission.

Francesa Chaouqui said that she was unsure why she was nominated to join the commission in 2013: "I am Catholic, so if the pope calls you, you don't ask too many questions."

She added that the Vatican is a "sacred monster", implying it is untouchable. 

The trials continue.

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