An Italian court July 15 found 15 officials guilty of brutalizing protesters at the Genoa G8 summit in 2001. Sentences ranged from five months to five years. The accused include police, prison officials and two doctors. Another 30 were cleared of charges. Protesters report they were beaten after being strip-searched by police. The prosecution charged they were tortured. However, all of those convicted are expected to appeal—and the statute of limitations will have expired by the time appeals are exhausted, meaning it is unlikely any prison time will be served. The plaintiffs are likely to receive a large settlement from the Italian government.
Police were accused of organized brutality in an unauthorised raid on a high school where protesters were staying. Scores arrested in the raid—Italy, Britain, Poland and Ireland—from and taken to a temporary prison camp outside Genoa, at Bolzaneto. Prosecutors said the detainees were beaten and made to sing fascist songs. Some women were stripped naked, had their heads shaved and were threatened with rape.
The commander of the Bolzaneto camp, Biagio Gugliotta, was sentenced to five years. The chief doctor at the camp, Giacomo Toccafondi, received a 14-month sentence, accused of failing to inform authorities after some detainees were sprayed with asphyxiating gas. Prosecutor Patrizia Petruziello said that 40 detainees suffered “four out of five” of the European Court’s criteria for “inhuman and degrading treatment.” The trial lasted nearly three years. (BBC, July 15)