Annual Report: Italy 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Italy 2010

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  • On 24 February, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Italy on its 2008 decision to expel Sami Ben Khemais Essid to Tunisia (see Tunisia entry). The Court condemned Italy for violating the principle of non-refoulement.
  • On 2 August, the Italian authorities returned Ali Ben Sassi Toumi to Tunisia, despite three separate rulings of the European Court of Human Rights urging them to stay his forcible return. In Tunisia, he was held incommunicado and his relatives were not informed of his whereabouts until 10 August, when he was released on bail. He continued to await his trial for terrorism related charges at the end of the year.

Guantánamo Bay

On 30 November, Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri, two Tunisian nationals formerly detained without charge by the USA at Guantánamo Bay, were transferred to Italy. Both men were detained upon arrival and faced prosecution in Italy, reportedly on charges for terrorism-related offences. At the end of the year, they remained in prison in Milan under a special security regime.

Deaths in custody, torture and other ill-treatment

There were widespread allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials as well as reports of deaths in custody in disputed circumstances. Italy failed to introduce an independent police complaints body and to introduce the crime of torture in its ordinary criminal legislation.

  • The investigation in the case of Emmanuel Bonsu continued. In September 2008, Emmanuel Bonsu was arrested by municipal police officers in Parma. He was reportedly beaten and physically assaulted, resulting in long-term psychological damage. In June, 10 officers were indicted for injury, assault, abduction, slander and false testimony, and other lesser charges. The trial was still pending at the end of the year.
  • On 6 July, four police officers were sentenced to prison terms of three years and six months each for the manslaughter of Federico Aldrovandi, who died in September 2005 after being stopped by police officers in Ferrara. The police officers had not been suspended from duty during the investigation or trial, and were appealing against the sentence at the end of the year.
  • On 22 October, Stefano Cucchi died in Sandro Pertini hospital's prison wing seven days after his arrest. His family believed injuries seen on his body after his death were indicative of ill-treatment. The Public Prosecutor investigating the death of Stefano Cucchi charged three prison guards and three doctors with his manslaughter.

G8 trials

Law enforcement officials and the Public Prosecutor continued different appeals against the 2008 verdicts and sentences of abuse of protesters at Armando Diaz School and Bolzaneto prison during the G8 summit in 2001.

Amnesty International visits/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited Italy in March, July and October.

Italy: Forcible return/fear of torture or other ill-treatment (5 February 2009)
Italy: Obligation to safeguard lives and safety of migrants and asylum-seekers (7 May 2009)
Homophobic attacks on the rise in Italy (3 September 2009)
Italy: The Abu Omar case (4 November 2009)
Italy: Roma community forcibly evicted (11 November 2009)