(ANSA) - Milan, April 10 - A Milan court on Thursday is set to start considering ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's request to serve the 10 months remaining on a four-year tax-fraud conviction by doing community service. The 77-year-old billionaire is too old to actually go to jail according legal practice here. Instead of community service, the court could order the three-time premier to serve the sentence under house arrest. The rest of the four-year sentence for tax-fraud at Berlusconi's media empire was covered by an amnesty. It could take several days for the court to reach a decision. According to media reports this week, a judicial office has recommended in a report that Berlusconi serve the sentence by doing community service at a home for disabled elderly people for one half day per week. The media magnate says the ruling is part of a campaign by left-wing elements in the judiciary to sweep him out of Italy's public life. He was ejected from the Senate as a result of of his first definitive conviction in 20 years of legal battles, although he continues to lead his opposition centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party from outside parliament. He has railed against the fact that the ruling to makes him ineligible to stand, or even vote, in next month's European elections. ''In this delicate moment in which the left, using its judicial arm, wishes to keep me from running, Forza Italia is enduring clumsy attempts to snatch its votes through confusion and treachery,'' Berlusconi said Wednesday. Berlusconi has lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against a six-year ban from office incurred under a 2012 anti-corruption law following the tax-fraud conviction. The ECHR on Tuesday rebuffed a petition signed by some 3,900 people asking for Berlusconi to be allowed to run for the European Parliament in the May 25 vote. The supporters of the former premier argued preventing their leader from running violated their right to free elections. The petitioners asked the ECHR to apply its Rule 39 on emergency interim measures to allow Berlusconi to run. The court turned them down, saying Rule 39 applies only when there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm and is usually invoked by people in cases of expulsion or extradition to countries where they might be tortured. In two separate cases, Berlusconi is also appealing a conviction for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office that carried a life office ban; and is also on trial for allegedly bribing a centre-left Senator to switch sides. But last month a Milan court ruled that a one-year term for alleged involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap had timed out.
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