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Genoa G8 Trials: Seizure And Punishment

Genoa Legal Support team (Supportolegale) | 24.03.2005 12:14 | Genoa | Globalisation | Repression | Social Struggles | World

Fresh intimidation from prosecutors trying Genoa G8 protestors, as laptops belonging to defense lawyers are seized following unrelated libel claims

The Genoa public prosecutor's office has apparently descended to new depths in its case against 25 demonstrators accused of involvement in the Genoa G8 clashes. On March 16, several officers with the plain-clothes Digos security police seized two laptops being used by Genoa Legal Forum lawyers. The operation followed charges of libel filed by the public prosecutors Anna Canepa and Andrea Canciani over remarks about them that appeared on the website.

The computers were seized during the course of a trial that was entirely unconnected to the Genoa G8 events. Yet they contained a great deal of confidential information about the 25 G8 demonstrators' case, which - surprisingly! - is being tried by Canepa and Canciani.

The seizure places fresh strain on the Genoa trials. These are increasingly accompanied by reporting that is bringing even further pressure to bear on an already tense situation. For example, an early evening broadcast on the so-called public television network recently made an amateurish attempt to rewrite the G8 events, cobbling together dramatic images and tapped phone conversations in a bid to show that the violence was subversive and had been planned in advance.

We believe that this latest act of intimidation indicates the level of fear in certain circles over the G8 trials under way. This is particularly the case with regards to preparation for the hearings and their coverage by a network of activists, who are issuing press releases and weekly public summaries on the proceedings' progress. Sadly, this attention has met with an embarrassing silence among sections of the movement, as well as on the part of certain individuals, both institutional and otherwise, that earned political capital from the events at the time.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors - whose purpose is surely to uncover the truth - have revealed an astonishing level of interest in a few sentences on the Internet that they believe constitute personal libel. This compares to their complete silence and lack of interest in considerably more serious events that have emerged during the G8 proceedings. For example, the fact that Carabinieri police officers used crossbars instead of batons, the illegal seizure of a video archive built up by (which belonged to a lawyer and was delivered, incomplete, to the prosecutor - in other words, tampering with the evidence) and the reticence of regular and ranked police officers testifying at the hearings.

Numerous episodes, occurring on a near daily basis in the Genoa courts, confirm this atmosphere. Take the "armoring" of the tribunal, with police officers in anti-riot gears; the overwhelming number of Digos officers both inside and outside the courtroom; the checks and searches of everyone attending the trials (which are public); and the repeated episodes of provocation, such as when an officer in Canepa's escort slapped a youth at the hearing because he didn't want to lower the hood on his sweatshirt.

The most recent regrettable incident occurred during a March 19 preliminary hearing into torture charges being brought against 47 police offices, prison guards and medics at the Bolzaneto detention center. The judge had to order a Digos official out of the courtroom, as the hearing was not public and his presence had not been authorized.

In a March 22 hearing in the trial against the 25 demonstrators, the court recognized that the seizure of the two laptops had damaged the defense and suspended proceedings until April 5.

The Genoa public prosecutor's office implicitly admitted that while the seizure had technically related to another proceeding, it had specifically targeted two Genoa Legal Forum lawyers. Canepa was particularly critical of one of them, making irritable remarks over the fact that he continued tapping away on his laptop during the hearings.

The president of the court rejected the prosecution's claims and agreed with the defense, that the seizure threatened the equal status of the prosecution and defense, as required by law.

The computers have been sent to the city of Turin, also in northern Italy, and we been given no indication of when they will be returned. However, the Legal Support team will continue helping those working on the Genoa G8 trials, despite this oppressive and intimidatory atmosphere.


Legal Support (Supportolegale) is a network of people following the Genoa trials, both the proceedings against demonstrators at the G8 summit, as well as those against public officials accused of violence, torture and abuse of power. The Legal Support team transcribes the hearings, turns them into understandable summaries, and publishes and spreads them. It creates projects, campaigns and initiatives to spread information and raise funds. It supports the legal staff of the Genoa Legal Forum, the lawyers defending the accused and representing the claimants in the different trials.

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