The Milan court of appeal decided on Wednesday, May 8, to uphold Silvio Berlusconi’s four-year jail sentence and five-year ban on holding public office for his conviction on charges of manipulating television right payments in order to avoid taxes.

The verdict, condemned by Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party (PDL) as another chapter in the “perennial persecution” against the former prime minister, is not expected to have any real consequences, since the offence expires in 2014 and the case still has to be heard at another level of justice.

Nonetheless, PDL called for a demonstration against “leftist judges” to be held on Saturday, May 11, in Brescia. The court’s decision, along with another trial for underage prostitution that Berlusconi will be facing in the coming weeks, also threaten the fledgling coalition government of PDL and the Democratic party.