Friday, December 4, 2009

ROMNI REFUGEE IN ITALY



FROM ROMA VIRTUAL NETWORK:

Dear Roma,
Dear non-Roma,
Dear Persons belonging to the Human Race,
Despite the colour of your skin, national belonging, heritage, religion or sexual preference

I urge You to dedicate your attention to read the following message regarding a minor and her case and to intervene.

Her name is Angelika, she was born in Romania and although she just turned seventeen a few days ago she was only fifteen when the events happened. The little girl is, at the moment, under the custody of the Italian authorities. According to a recent decision issued by the Court for Minors of Naples because she is a ROMNI “totally inserted in schemes belonging to Romani culture”, fully “integrated within that” and moreover unable to concretely analyse her past living experiences, she faces a “concrete danger of “recidivism”.

The request to be confined at home submitted by her lawyer was, therefore, rejected by the Court on the basis of these assumptions.

Angelika will have to stay in a penitentiary for 3 years and 8 months to serve her sentence; she cannot leave the prison.

At the moment she is deprived of her freedom and locked in the Neapolitan infamous “juvenile” by the sea “Istituto Penitenziario Minorile di Nisida”[1] until she will turn 18 when she will be probably relocated to a penitentiary for adult females.
Angelika is victim of an exemplary punishment, issued and reconfirmed during an extremely hard time for Roma in Italy, when decrees ad hoc have been promulgated, fingerprinting and biometric data have been collected, evictions and expulsions have been carried out disregarding a number of recommendations, international E.U. laws and treaties[2].

Besides all of the terrible events that affected Angelika, she strongly declared her innocence firmly believing that she could not affirm to be guilty of crimes she did not commit.

She never meant to kidnap a child because she is also a mother of a daughter Alessandra Emiliana who she left behind in Romania . This is what she probably tried to say, in her very poor Italian, when she was arrested. She did not have any translation in her own language therefore what was reported is whatever was understood by the officer. Without confessing and showing to be repentant she had no facilitation at all, she is detained.
Her lawyer lost every appeal but very soon, probably in December (source to be confirmed) he will have to handle this very complicated case in front of the Italian Court of Cassazione (Cassation).

This is the last chance not only for the teenager, but also for the Italian judges to address the antecedent unfair judgments. Most importantly, this is last opportunity to intervene against this latest racist decision [3], openly referring to all Roma people and directly targeting “Romanip√®” (Romani identity) as an illicit attitude.

Accountability is ad personam and institutional persons should refrain from enacting preventive or punitive measures exclusively connected with their personal opinion on what they believe a “population” is or should be. Roma should not fear to be forcedly assimilated or to be kept in captivity because they are “Roma”. Defendants should not be considered guilty until there is sufficient, objective proof against them.

But what is the history behind Angelika’s case and trial? Why it is commonly believed that she did not have a fair trial? Let’s read some more…
The story behind the story:

Ponticelli, Naples , a mob attacked the camp-settlements inhabited by Romanian Roma families. Fire burned their belongings and miraculously no one was reported dead or injured. Romanian Roma, escorted by police forces, literally “escaped” a mass- lynching. A strong and uncontrolled wind of intolerance blew throughout Italy manoeuvred both politically and mediatically.

Roma and Sinti all over the Peninsula feared retaliation and attacks. They were terrified to leave their settlement, to send their kids to school, to go out for any activity undertaken normally and quite regularly in the past. Media and politicians were continuously fomenting racial hatred sentiments through their stereotyped remarks and were publicly promising to the Italians to promptly address the “gypsy” issue with zero tolerance policies.

In Naples , all the attention was oriented to the “rubbish emergency”, the city was in fact filled with piles of trash, and the new Prime Minister had a number of meetings scheduled to make all the dirt disappear with his magic stick. The residents were on the edge of losing their patience but it was not the whole citizenry who attacked the camps, only some groups of folks that oddly inhabited the same neighbourhoods where Angelika got herself into trouble.

During those days Angelika was in Naples . She had just arrived with her husband Emiliano aged 21, and his brother, his wife and his eight year old son. Soon she got herself in trouble, accused of having robbed some earrings, the fifteen year old girl was and aggressed by people was rescued by the police who placed her in a custody of a care home. Very soon she ran away.

On the 10th of May 2008 , in a bitter twist of fate, the police officers saved her again from the uncontrolled wrath of a crowd, but no perpetrator one was ever identified and charged for the assault against her person. The minor, instead, got arrested under an extremely defamatory charge: “She attempted to kidnap a baby” in Ponticelli, one of the roughest quarters of Naples , the baby of Mrs. Flora Martinelli.

According to EveryOne Group the version of the facts provided by authorities and media was false. It was given to trigger off a “gypsy hunt”. And the dynamics appeared totally unconvincing because those who are familiar with Naples know that it is practically impossible to enter an apartment in one of those hoods and totally avoiding the inaccessible surveillance of the nosy tenants, especially when person walking around is Roma.

After the events took place, different versions were offered by a number of persons involved and some statements were also broadcasted by the daily news. Discrepancies between the descriptions given by Flora Martinelli, her father, and the neighbours emerged several times.

Different sources reported that Mrs. Martinelli first declared that the door to her apartment had been forced, later she affirmed that it was left open. After realising that the door was open, she went to check the baby’s crib and when she returned “she caught –the young Roma girl with the baby in her arms […] not only that: she had time to catch up with her and snatch the baby away from her. Therefore the gypsy girl must have moved in slow motion, enabling the baby’s grandfather, Ciro, to catch up with her on the floor below, grab her and slap her”[4]. Angelika was alone there and it would have been impossible for her to kidnap a girl and walk away for over two kilometres without being seen or caught.

“Angelica actually knew one of the families that live in Via Principe di Napoli, where the episode took place […] She pressed the entry phone button and was spotted by some tenants. A few seconds later the trap was sprung and the fury of the tenants was unleashed on her – they caught up with her in the street, grabbed her, slapped her and handed her over to the police”[5].

During the trials, the magistrates set their decisions mostly on what Mrs. Martinelli, the mother of the infant affirmed. The judges underlined that there was no reason not believed her.

Two journalists carried out their own investigations, Marco Imarisio writing for “Corriere della Sera” and Miguel Mora for “El Pais”, both of them discovered that Mrs. Flora Marinelli had a previous criminal record for “falso ideologico” (lie) [6] while her father Ciro- also known as “O’ Cardinale” (The Cardinal) - was charged before with a nine months sentence for “criminal organization” and affiliated with the Clan Sarno, a Camorra family ruling Ponticelli and characterized for its ability in obtaining public tenders[7].
During those days numerous attacks against Roma and Romanians were reported around that area. Was the fury of the Sarno’s awakened by the Cardinal? He is considered a “respected man” (uomo d’onore)[8], who would dare to disrespect a “man of honour” and attempt to take something from his house? Men of honour leave their door open and so their gates because no one will ever disrespect them.
But Ponticelli was also undergoing a plan of renovation, a massive, super expensive enormous investment, right on the place where Roma settled. Some sources affirmed that Roma had to go away because the works had to begin, too much money was already involved and so were the Commune of Naples, politicians and the Ponticelli’s Committee, companies based in Luxemburg whose members’ names can not be disclosed.[9]

Conclusion of the story: Angelika is still imprisoned and waiting for the last appeal at the Cassation’s Court in December while all the other people are living in the free world. Roma got evicted and terrorized, their properties left behind, the politicians are still where they were and the projects keep running.

A decision was issued against Angelika and all the Roma.

Too many people, Roma and not Roma, watch immovable without taking concrete action.

This letter is to solicit your conscience to take a step forward and offer some help.

Silence is complicity and I cannot do much more then send out my remarks.
Maybe some people will feel a moral duty to intervene.

I am here, together with other activists, at your disposal to receive your comment and proposition.

The time is running out…

Elisabetta Vivaldi
___________________________________________

We are asking people to send a letter of protest to Elisabetta at
kcerka_vjetra@yahoo.com
and a cc. to
giancarloranaldi@hotmail.com

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