Saturday, February 20, 2010
THIS IS CALLED JUSTICE IN ITALY
Italy: Sentencing of human rights defenders Mr Roberto Malini and Mr Dario Picciau
Brussels, February 20, 2010
Received From Roma Virtual Network
Human rights defenders Mr Roberto Malini and Mr Dario Picciau were informed on 12 February 2010 of their conviction, on 5 November 2009, to the payment of a fine for disturbing a police operation in Pesaro in December 2008. Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau are co-presidents of EveryOne Group, a non-governmental organisation supporting Roma people and refugees.
On 12 February 2010, Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau received notification by the Italian authorities that they had been sentenced to a prison term, commuted into payment of a fine of 2,100 euro, for ”in complicity with each other, they caused the interruption, or at least disturbed a police operation aimed at identifying three foreign citizens, and used abusive language towards the officers from Pesaro-Urbino Police Headquarters, and interfered in the carrying out of their duty” in accordance to Articles 110 and 340 of the Penal Code. They were sentenced through a so-called penal decree signed by the office of the magistrate for preliminary investigations of Pesaro on 5 November 2009. The penal decree is a judicial procedure allowing a magistrate to sentence a person on the basis of the prosecutor's submission only, without hearing the accused. Penal decrees can be appealed within 15 days from their notification.
According to EveryOne Group, on the evening of 20 December 2008, a police officer was talking ”in an arrogant manner” to a young Roma man, Mr Nico Grancea, while his colleague waited in the patrol car in front of a coffee shop. ”We greeted the young man, Nico Grancea, who we knew very well as we had been offering him assistance for over a year. In answer, we received from the first officer an abrupt and threatening invitation to show our ID cards.
The police officer took note of our details.” Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau reported that the police officers then left without issuing any notification. ”The magistrate investigating the case did not listen to what the owner of the coffee shop, or Mr Grancea, or the EveryOne activists had to say. The Pesaro investigating magistrate decided for a conviction without a trial” they added. Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau have appealed the sentence.
EveryOne Group reported several instances of abuses and intimidation from the authorities and in particular the police, due to their work in assisting Roma communities and refugees. In particular, their work in opposing police raids in Roma camps in Pesaro and their advocacy over the expulsion of a group of Afghan asylum seekers while their asylum application was pending, originated police hostility. The policy of the Pesaro authorities towards Roma people has reportedly been raised in Parliament and EveryOne Group reports that this has led to the transfer of the head of the police in Pesaro to a different province.
Front Line believes that the sentencing of Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau is motivated by their legitimate human rights work in support of minority rights, especially Roma people.
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Posted by Morgan at 1:13 PM