This is a personal account by the defendant of an 11 year fight for justice against the Italian police. Every once in a while a legal case comes along in Italy which will shape the future path of a country concerning the standard of its human rights and its legal system. The raid on the Diaz school during the G8 meeting in Genoa in 2001 is such a case.
This is a text written by nessuno last week in the build up to the final outcome of the "Diaz' trial:
Almost eleven years have passed as the Diaz case has travelled and navigated a legal system challenged and pulled apart by Berlusconi until it has finally arrived at the highest court of the land. This court is the Corti of Cassazione in Piazza Cavour. It is a very imposing building in Central Rome and is situated on the west side of the Tigris river. Cassazione does not use juries but has five Supreme court judges considering the case before it.
What they are considering is a high controversial police brutality case that has multiple victims and many police on trial for multiple serious charges. These are not rank and file policemen but commanders who now represent the top tier of power in the Italian police force. The very people, if acquitted, who will steer Italy through an economic and public order crisis of enormous size.
There are 26 anti-terrorist, DIGOS, flying Squad and state police commanders who are accused of masterminding and planning the bloody 'Mexican butchers shop' massacre at Diaz during the Genoa G8. A raid of such brutality, Amnesty called it the biggest suspension of democratic rights in a western country since World War II. A raid that was described by Genoa judges as the darkest page of history of the Italian police force. Even a movie has been made Domenico Procacci has been made called Diaz: Don't Clean Up This Blood. It was released at the Berlin Film festival to critical fame and many Italian youth have seen it in cinemas last month. The movie script is based upon the basic facts of what happened. Fandango, the production company researched and read over 10,000 court documents.
As an English Indymedia journalist who was covering the summit, I was attacked and almost killed at Diaz (it is estimated) by up to 14 Italian policemen. So were another four British victims to a lesser degree of injuries. They are Dan Macquillan, Norman Blair, Richard Moth and Nicola Doherty. They were very peaceful non-violent protesters who were genuinely concerned about the state of the planet before 9-11 changed the world. What hasn't changed since 9-11 is the rise of powerful fascist politics that now threaten the stability of Italy and Europe in this current economic crisis. Whilst politicians and journalist analysis the rise of fascist politics in Greece, the Diaz case is the frontline of the struggle against fascism in Italy.
Gianfranco Fini, currently speaker of Rome Parliament, is still the most powerful fascist politician in Europe but since his breakup with Berlusconi, he is biding his time and staying below the radar. When Fini is quiet, he is planning his path to become prime minister. The fascists are allowing the Monti Government to be seen to fail before they offer their extreme right wing policies on law, Public Order and Immigration. Fini's view of Europe and the EU is that Italy should leave union of states. This is where he finds common ground with Cameroon who also wants to leave but for the different reasons of protecting the bankers in the city of London.
Fin grew powerful under Berlusconi. At the Genoa G8 summit, he had the special job of being G8 security minister and he was supposed to handle the Bin Laden threat to fly a wooden plane into the G8 but he was more interested in having his private fascist war with the anti-globalisation movement. Instead of protecting the G8, he took a personal interest in making sure the Diaz raid was carried out and that many people were tortured for fun.
Of the G8 itself, it was expedient to allow a man like Gianfranco Fini and his fascists to do the dirty job of smashing any democratic and popular protest that was being mounted against them as they carried out plans to exploit the planet for even more resources and profit and to maintain their powerful grip over the world.
For the human rights abuse at Diaz and Bolzaneto, Berlusconi and Fini handed out promotions whilst offering money and very expensive lawyers to get them off the serious charges being presented by Dr Zucca and the Genova prosecutors. It is rumoured but not proved yet that Gianfranco told the convicted Diaz police that they were 'Covered to do anything they liked at Diaz'.
Francesco Gratteri, second in command of the anti-terrorist squad at Diaz, has recently been promoted to Deputy chief of police of Italy.
Gilberto Caldarozzi, Gratteri's deputy, has been promoted into the Justice ministry and Spartico Mortola, Commander of the DIGOS in Genoa at the time of G8, has been promoted to be chief of police in Turin. The only commander (7th mobile heavy riot unit) not to of been promoted was Vincenzo Canterini, the 'Butcher of Diaz'.
And they did do anything and everything to the victims of Diaz and Bolzaneto. Like planting Molotov cocktails at Diaz whilst knowing everyone there was innocent and with the firm intention of sending the victims to jail as a grand conspiracy of criminality for the next 15 years on trumped up false charges . It should be remembered that the Italians were using emergency G8 military powers which double the sentence of most crimes in normal times.
What happened to me is an illustration of how far the Diaz police were prepared to go to dispense their kind of idealogy. In three attacks over the space of 15 minutes, my left hand was broken, eight ribs on my left side, my left lung was shredded, I suffered massive internal bleeding, a damaged spine, 16 broken teeth and was put into a coma. I was then left to die outside the main gate of Diaz Pertini despite the fact that Carabineri medical teams were present.
I actually count myself lucky that the police never succeeded kidnapping me out of hospital and sending me to Bolzaneto where I would of certainly died at the hands of a prison doctor (Toccafondi who was convicted during the Bolzaneto trial) who joined in the torture with the police. Others were not so lucky and endured four of the five basic torture techniques as invented by the parachute regiment in 1972 Northern Ireland conflict (yes... Bolzaneto is compared to that conflict. It was not just a few hippies being slapped about. It was systematic torture).
In the hours and days after the Diaz raid, a cover-up went into place by the Diaz police whilst they gave press conferences telling the international press that all the victims were dangerous terrorists. Dr Zucca calls it a 'Code Blue' wall of silence. The commanders at Diaz ordered civil servant police who attended Diaz later to write false reports and statements (which they later signed). My attempted murder was written out of the statements and to this day, only two policemen out of 340 who had to pass me to get into Diaz, ever said they saw me. No honest policeman had the courage to face up to the power of these commanders and attempt to tell the truth for fear of being threatened and killed by their superiors. A few did attempt to tell some truth about the basic facts. Fournier was one such policeman. He testified that Diaz was a 'Mexican Butchers Shop'. However, on the whole, very few spoke out about what they had seen.
In the years after the Diaz raid, I attempted and succeeded in rebuilding and synchronising the video evidence. 'Supervideo Diaz', as it was nicknamed, was finished and presented by the italian legal human rights team in the actual Diaz trial. This reconstruction is an irrefutable major piece of evidence in front of the Cassazione judges.
Diaz is a special trial in the sense that so many police are on trial and they are not just the rank and file. Most of them are commanders. Police trials like Diaz have to have a much higher level of evidence involved even if you are to be in the situation of bringing a case, let alone winning it. We called it the 500% rule. The police had to be caught absolutely red handed in performing a crime before we presented a legal argument. At Diaz much went wrong for them and yes they were all caught red-handed beating innocent protesters and journalists, planting false evidence - namely two Molotov's, falsely accusing and arresting the victims and caught sending victims off for torture at Bolzaneto by another set of police.
This is why Diaz breaks all known records in the legal sense. I have not found another case yet where more police have been put on trial as in the Diaz trial.
However, through the last eleven years, Berlusconi sought to move the legal goalposts of the Diaz case. First, he shortened the statute of limitations. This was primarily to get himself off charges related to the John Mills affair. However, this law also caused many of the Diaz charges to go beyond the statute of limitations despite being found guilty of all of them.
The three charges still on the statute book are false arrest, false statement and forgery. If found guilty of these three charges, the may 2010 verdict will stand and 15 of the Diaz police are jailed and a further eleven will be thrown out.
However, many italian commentators say that Cassazione will use a law passed in 2005 that suspends the first three years of a sentence. Its known as Berlusconi's 'Pardon' law. This will mean that all Diaz police walk and most will keep their jobs.
If Cassazione exists for justice for the victim, where is the justice? Why does the court have to protect and let go the butchers of Diaz? Why does the court have to use laws from a criminal like Berlusconi? Is the court going to do anything about what Amnesty International said? Will yet another serious injustice persist into italian history?
Photo resources: [1|2]
G8/Diaz: Supreme Court confirms conviction against police. All 26 found guilty.
July 5, 2012 - 19:32
(ANSA) - Rome, July 5 - The Supreme Court has definitively confirmed the sentences against the officials of the State Police raided the Diaz school in Genoa during the G8 in 2001. Among the accused, the sentence of five years for the former commander of the first mobile unit in Rome Vincenzo Canterini, four years for the current head dell'anticrimine Francesco Gratteri and the former Deputy Director John UCIGOS Luperi, four years, and one to three years and eight months for the former head of the Digos of Genoa, Spartacus Mortola and the former deputy head of the SCO, Gilberto Caldarozzi .
Officials will be suspended from duty and 'applied the penalty of disqualification from public office for 5 years.
ROME - The Fifth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the convictions for forgery for police chiefs and prescribed the injury to the other officers involved in beatings at the Diaz school in Genoa during the G8 in 2001. The decision came after nine hours of deliberation. After 11 years, the Supreme Court thus puts an end to the mexican butchers shop called Diaz.
The agents are involved in the beating and sentenced in illegal arrests of anti-globalization to the school in 2001. Then confirmed the sentence of 4 years for Giovanni Luperi (chief of AISI - italian MI6) and Francesco Gratteri (Deputy chief of police), the 5 years to Vincent Canterini (commander of 7th mobile), as well as penalties, equal to 3 years and 8 months, imposed on Gilberto Caldarozzi (anti-drugs chief), Filippo Ferri, Fabio Ciccimarra, Nando Dominici, Spartacus Mortola (chief of police of turin) , Carlo Di Sarro, Massimo Mazzoni, Renzo Cerchi, Davide Di Novi and Massimiliano Di Bernardini. Prescribed, however, the alleged crimes of a serious injury to nine agents belonging to the seventh special unit of the mobile at the time. "The judgment of the Supreme Court today to be respected as all decisions of the Judiciary.
The Interior Ministry will comply as provided by the Supreme Court, "said Interior Minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri. Police "welcomes the judgment of the judiciary with full due respect and reaffirms its commitment to continue the steady improvement of the training on the complex field public order and security, "said Chief of Police, Prefect Antonio Manganelli after the verdict. Confirmation of the judgment of the Court of Appeal will take immediate enforcement of sentences. Between prescription and pardon the sentences in each case there will be sentences but officials would mean immediate disqualification from office and suspension from duty, since for each of the 26 defendants the appellate court has ordered the penalty of disqualification from public office for five years.
The verdict issued tonight by the Supreme Court on what happened at the Diaz school in Genoa in July 2001, Amnesty International announce that it is an important ruling that finally and definitively, although very late, recognizes that agents and state officials were guilty of serious violations of human rights of people who were supposed to protect.
However, Amnesty International points out that the failures and omissions of the state to give full justice to the victims of the violence of the G8 in Genoa are of such magnitude that these convictions still leave a bitter taste: arrived late, with sentences that do not reflect the severity crimes detected - and that mostly will not run because of the requirement - and following investigations difficult and hampered by agents and police officials that they should feel the duty to contribute to the finding of facts so serious.
Above all, these sentences involve a very small number of those who participated in the violence and criminal activities designed to hide the crimes committed. For Amnesty International, the conclusion of this difficult process can not be the end of the attempt to give full justice to the victims of the G8 in Genoa. After the phase of the investigation of individual responsibility, it is all to do an analysis that leads to shared conclusions about what did not work in Genoa in 2001 at the system level and how to ensure that this does not happen again.
Amnesty International will continue to ask the Italian institutions:
- Publicly condemn human rights violations committed by police 11 years ago and provide an apology to the victims;
- Undertake to ensure that violations such as those that happened in Genoa in 2001 will not occur again through the implementation of concrete measures to ensure the determination of liability for all violations of human rights committed by the police;
- Introduced in the Penal Code the crime of torture (Hence the appeal to be signed) and a definition of torture that includes all the features described in Article 1 of UN Convention against Torture;
- Creating the National Human Rights Institution in line with the "Principles concerning the status of national institutions" (Paris Principles);
- Ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and establish an independent national mechanism to prevent torture and ill-treatment;
- Conduct a thorough review of the provisions in force in the operations of public policy, including those relating to training and deployment of police forces employed in the demonstrations, the use of force and firearms, and takes into account the need to introduce elements of individual identification of members of the police in public order operations.
Rome, 6 July (AKI) - A major reorganisation at the top of Italy's police force will follow the upholding by Italy's top court of 13 senior officers' convictions over a brutal attack by riot police on protesters at a school during the Genoa G( summit in 2001.
"The men who have been convicted at the final level of appeal must be replaced," justice minister Anna Maria Cancellieri told Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Friday.
Several of the officers are investigators close to Italy's police chief Antonio Manganelli.
They include Franceso Gratteri, head of anti-crime operations, who was involved in many high-profile investigations against the mafia; Gilberto Caldarozzi, head of the police central operations unit, who played a role in capture of mafia "boss of bosses" Bernardo Provenzano in 2006; and Giovanni Luperi, the head of the police counter-terrorism unit.
The officers were convicted on Thursday by Italy Court of Cassation for complicity in planting of evidence to try to justify the unprovoked attack at the Genoa school, including a petrol bomb and clubs.
The officers will not be jailed because they benefited from a general pardon for certain offences in 2006. But they are banned from public office for five years after their definitive conviction and will be suspended from duty.
Cancellieri said Italy was losing some of its best policemen but said she wholeheartedly condemned the violent attack by police on the G8 protesters.
"Serious errors were committed at the Genoa G8 and now those who are responsible for this must pay," she stated.
"The price is very high, because we are losing some of our best men."
Twelve riot police were previously convicted for beating protesters in the school but never jailed because of Italy's statute of limitations.
More than 60 anti-globalisation campaigners were savagely beaten and one left in a coma by the police raid which occurred on the night of 21 July after rioting and pitched battles with police in Genoa.
One Italian protester was killed during some of the worst rioting seen at international summits.
Amnesty International described as the most serious suspension of democratic rights in a western country since the second world war.
Manganelli said the police would, "accept the sentence with utmost respect and commit to the constant improving of training with regard to the complex field of order and public security".
Some short films about the case.
Original article on IMC London: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12538