Annual Report: Italy 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Italy 2011

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The criminal proceedings concerning terrorism-related charges against Adel Ben Mabrouk and Rihad Nasseri, two Tunisian nationals transferred from detention in Guantánamo Bay to Italy in 2009, were ongoing. There were concerns that the accused would be deported to Tunisia in violation of the principle of non-refoulement.

Deaths in custody

There were continued reports of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. Concerns persisted about the independence and impartiality of investigations and about the thoroughness of the collection and preservation of evidence in cases of deaths in custody and alleged ill-treatment, which may have led to impunity. Repeated petitions to the authorities from the victims and their families remained essential to ensure thorough investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice.

  • The appeals against their convictions by four police officers, who in July 2009 had been sentenced to three years and six months in prison for the unlawful killing of 18-year-old Federico Aldrovandi, remained pending at the end of the year. Federico Aldrovandi died in 2005 after being stopped by police officers in Ferrara. In March, three police officers, accused of helping their colleagues to hide and forge evidence of the case, were sentenced to prison terms of eight, 10 and 12 months respectively. In October, Federico Aldrovandi's parents accepted the sum of 2 million euros in reparation for their son's death, on condition they renounced the suit for damages in the pending proceedings.
  • Proceedings against a prison guard for failing to assist Aldo Bianzino were pending. Aldo Bianzino died in prison in Perugia in 2007 two days after his arrest. Proceedings for homicide against unidentified perpetrators were closed in 2009.
  • Attempts to clarify circumstances and determine any responsibilities in the death of Stefano Cucchi were ongoing. Stefano Cucchi died in October 2009 in a hospital's prison wing in Rome several days after his arrest. His relatives believed that his death had been caused by the ill-treatment he allegedly suffered before reaching the hospital.
  • In December, a doctor was charged with the manslaughter of Giuseppe Uva who died in June 2008 in a hospital in Varese, allegedly due to the wrong medical treatment. Investigations into the ill-treatment allegedly suffered by Giuseppe Uva while in police custody hours before his death were ongoing.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In March and May, the Genoa Court of Appeal issued second instance verdicts in the trials on the torture and other ill-treatment perpetrated by law enforcement officials against G8 protesters in 2001. The opportunity to file appeals with the Court of Cassation was still open at the end of the year.

In March, the Court recognized that most of the crimes that had taken place at the temporary detention centre of Bolzaneto, including grievous bodily harm and arbitrary inspections and searches, had expired due to the statute of limitations, but still ordered all of the 42 accused to pay civil damages to the victims. The Court also imposed prison sentences of up to three years and two months on eight of the accused.

In May, the same Court found 25 of the 28 people accused of similar abuses at the Armando Diaz School guilty, including all high-ranking police officers present at the time of the events, and imposed prison sentences of up to five years. Many of the charges were dropped due to the statute of limitations.

If Italy had introduced torture as a specific crime in its criminal code, however, the statute of limitations would not have applied.