date: 01 October 2008 at 14:46:52

What’s wrong with Italy?

The answer is short and simple. Everything!
And here’s a case to illustrate the problems: Operazione Brushwood.

On the morning of 23rd October, 2007, 108 armed and masked police-marksmen descended on the sleepy little town of Spoleto, and arrested four twenty-year-old boys and a man aged forty-one. The ‘suspects’ were taken off to prison in four helicopters.

The accusations were: a) that they had formed an armed terrorist band to defend the environment; b) that they had written slogans on walls, smashed the windscreen of a bulldozer, and set light to a fuse box on a building site; and, finally, c) that they had sent a threatening letter to the President of the Regional Council containing two bullets.

Now for the facts.
a) The ‘terrorist band’ contained an anarchist, Michele Fabiani, and he – like us – was very active in an environmental committee to protect the 2000 year-old city of Spoleto from frenzied speculative building development.
b) All the ‘evidence’ was gathered by means of hidden microphones. According to the authorities it was coded. The word ‘salami’ could mean anything from bombs to nuclear missiles. In the official transcript of the tapes, the word ‘cheques’ is interpreted as meaning ‘bullets.’
c) No arms were ever found. The only member of the ‘band’ who had ever owned a gun (41-year-old Fabrizio Reali) had sold the target-pistol 15 years before, and the police had forgotten to register the fact. Thus, when armed police broke into his bedroom at 5 a.m. that morning, pressed a pistol to his temple and insisted that he reveal the whereabouts of the ‘cache,’ there was no ‘cache.’
And no case, one might add!
d) The boys admitted writing on walls, declaiming the destruction that was going on in their town. Thus, they admitted acts of vandalism, the penalty for which is minor. Italy, as any tourist knows, is submerged by graffiti, and no-one is ever punished.
e) They denied setting light to the building site fuse-box. Indeed, the local police had investigated at the time, and reported that the incident as an ‘accident.’
f) The letter containing two bullets was posted in an ordinary envelope from Spoleto. It travelled through the postal system via Florence to Perugia without arousing suspicion, despite all the usual systems of manual and automatic control. It was handled by people who were working in the office of the Regional President, Maria Rita Lorenzetti, without anyone noticing how unusually heavy it was. The recipient herself announced that she had received it. One fingerprint was found on the package, but it did not correspond with the prints of any of the accused boys.

Now for the sting.
Michele Fabiani celebrated his twenty-first birthday alone in an isolation cell in prison. He spent five months there under the 270 bis regime, which covers acts of terrorism, and another five months in a prison for common criminals. While in jail, he took two exams in Philosophy and passed them both with full marks.
Andrea De Nucci, 21, is still under house arrest. Damiano Corrias, 21, and Dario Polinori, 21, are free to go out of the house, but they have to sign a parole sheet every day with the local police.
The 41-year-old, the man who didn’t have the guns which the ‘band’ might have used was set free without a mark on his character. At 9 o’clock one night, he was simply ushered out of the door of the prison, which stands in open countryside twelve miles from the largest town. He had no money, and no phone. This ‘dangerous terrorist’ had to phone his 70-year-old father with a borrowed coin from a roadside bar and ask to be taken home!

So, where lies the problem?
The problem is the Italian justice system.
It accuses you, me, or anyone else of having done something, anything. From that moment on, you are GUILTY until you can prove yourself innocent. It matters not how ridiculous or unfounded the accusation is. In this case, the accused boys have spent almost a year in prison or in custody, at least two months of that time in an isolation cell as a suspected terrorist.
Yesterday, 27/9/08, yet another Italian magistrate heard the accusations and considered the validity of the evidence. Rather than dismiss these ludicrous and unfounded accusations, he declared that a magistrate higher up the ladder will have to reach a conclusion in the case. He announced that a public trial (yesterday, the sitting took place in camera) will begin on 7th April, 2009.

The 4 accused boys will have been in prison/custody without facing trial for 18 months!

Is this Justice?
In England, they would have been free, or sent for trial, within 28 days under the Terrorism Act.


Leave a Comment

Security code *