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Oggetto: Italy/G8 Summit: Amnesty International calls for commission of inquiry
 * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
 International *
31 July 2001  EUR 30/006/2001 133/01

 In the light of continuing reports and allegations of human
 rights violations during the G8 policing operation in Genoa, the
 conduct of the Italian law enforcement and prison officers
 involved should be comprehensively investigated by an independent
 commission of inquiry, Amnesty International said today.

 The organization wrote to Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio
 Berlusconi, expressing concern about the alleged human rights
 violations committed in the context of the G8 policing operation
 and asking for the Italian authorities' cooperation in ensuring
 that such allegations are promptly and thoroughly investigated.

 While welcoming the initiation of criminal investigations
 by the Italian judicial authorities, Amnesty International
 believes that -- given the scale and gravity of the allegations
 still emerging, and the very high level of domestic and
 international concern -- these investigations are unlikely to
 provide an adequate response.

 "As well as safeguarding the interests of genuine
 victims of torture or ill-treatment, a prompt, impartial and
 effective investigation by an independent commission would also
 serve to protect the reputations of law enforcement and prison
 officers who may be the subject of unfounded accusations of
 excessive force, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading
 treatment," the organization added.

 In its letter the organization sets out the criteria that
 should inform the establishment of a commission of inquiry,

 that it should comprise people of acknowledged probity and
 that its scope, methods and findings should be made public;
 that the commission should be given jurisdiction to take evidence
 from alleged victims of ill-treatment, and that such people be
 protected against harassment and intimidation;
 that the commission should also be empowered to summon and take
 evidence from law enforcement and prison officers.

 "The commission of enquiry should file interim reports to
 facilitate the prompt initiation of any appropriate criminal or
 disciplinary proceedings, identifying specific instances and
 individuals whenever possible," Amnesty International
 recommended, adding that these reports should also facilitate
 prompt amendments to regulations, laws, training and procedures
 relevant to law enforcement and prison officers.

 In a previous letter sent to the Italian Minister of the
 Interior ahead of the G8 Summit, Amnesty International had urged
 the Italian authorities to ensure that law enforcement officials
 engaged in the policing of the G8 Summit were aware of, and at
 all times acted in accordance with, relevant international human
 rights standards.

 "We are now asking the Italian authorities to
 provide us with information on any relevant instructions and
 training which were given to state officers in the lead up to G8
 with regard to these standards," the organization said.

 Amnesty International is concerned about allegations that:

 - in the days immediately preceding the G8 summit, some
 protestors with apparently peaceful intent were not allowed to
 enter Italy or were expelled and not allowed to proceed to Genoa,
 thus violating their rights to freedom of expression and
 assembly. In incidents at the Port of Ancona some such protestors
 were allegedly subjected to ill- treatment by law enforcement

 - law enforcement officers used excessive force on the streets
 during demonstrations which took place on Friday 20 and Saturday
 21 July, inflicting indiscriminate assaults, including beatings
 with batons, on -- amongst others -- non-violent protestors and
 journalists reporting on the demonstrations;

 - during a police raid carried out on buildings legally occupied
 by the Genoa Social Forum (GSF) in the early hours of Sunday, 22
 July law enforcement officers subjected individuals detained to
 deliberate and gratuitous beatings, resulting in numerous
 injuries, some of them requiring urgent hospitalization and in
 some cases surgical operations. Up to 20 people were reportedly
 carried out of the building on stretchers, two of them apparently
 in a coma;

 - dozens of people were subjected to arbitrary and illegal arrest
 and detention, including the majority of those detained during
 the raid on the Genoa Social Forum;

 - during transfer in police vehicles and inside detention
 facilities law enforcement and prison officers subjected
 individuals to beatings and other cruel, inhuman and degrading
 treatment. It has been claimed, amongst other things, that
 detainees were slapped, kicked punched and spat on, subjected to
 verbal abuse, sometimes of an obscene sexual nature, were
 deprived of food, water and sleep for lengthy periods, made to
 line up with their faces against the wall and remain for hours
 spread-eagled, and beaten, in particular on parts of their bodies
 already injured during arrest if they failed to maintain this
 position. Some detainees were apparently threatened with death
 and, in the case of female detainees, rape;

 - many people were denied the internationally-recognized rights
 of people deprived of their liberty, in some cases for several
 days. This included denial of prompt access to lawyers and, in
 the case of foreigners, consular officials, and denial of prompt
 and adequate medical care. In addition, many were not allowed to
 have their relatives promptly notified of their whereabouts and
 were not informed of their rights.