Of course there’s one critical caveat: as long as it’s not in the presence of minors.
The decision resulted from the case of a 69-year-old man who was convicted in May 2015 of performing the act in front of students at the University of Catania, CNN noted. He was sentenced to three months in prison and fined about $3,600.
An appeals court upheld the sentence, the Telegraph reported, but the man’s lawyer appealed to Italy’s highest court that the penalty was too severe. And the court agreed, citing a change in the law last year that decriminalized masturbation in front of women.
“The act is no longer regarded as a crime by the law,” the Supreme Court ruled, per the Telegraph.
According to media outlets, Elvira Savino, MP of a rival party to that of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, said, “To save from the prison cells people who commit obscene acts in front of women is really unjustifiable … The government’s law is an invitation to every maniac to molest women.”
The case has been directed back to a local court to determine the administrative fine.