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G8Genoa-Diaz verdict-G8 La Maddalena 2009 press conference

Mark Covell | 04.12.2008 18:44 | Climate Camp 2008 | Repression | Terror War | South Coast | World

Invite to the mass media and anyone with an interest in the La Maddalena G8 protests:

After over seven years of investigation and trial process concerning the indictment of 76 italian police following events during the Genova G8 2001 summit. During July 2008, thirteen police from prison, GOM MOBILE, Carabineri and two medical staff were convicted of abuse of authority, abuse and torture as the Diaz sister trial, Bolzaneto came to an end.

With the Diaz convictions On November 14th 2008 of another thirteen 7th mobile riot commanders and men this brings a total of 26 italian police convicted. On the face of it, a big success for any police trial. The Italian newspapers reported that Diaz was the blackest page in Italian police history. The issues raised by the Diaz trial and it verdict would have deep implications for the La Maddalena G8, for the Judicial Authority of Italy, the Government and most of all, the Interior Ministry.

The Diaz verdict was political and not based on any legal or evidence logic. It did not matter if the victims had 1000% evidence, the Diaz judge just was not going to convict. Diaz had overwhelming evidence. You would have to have overwhelming evidence to bring a trial against any police.

Currently, some of the victims and GLF staff have travelled to London for a press conference and also to show OP Genova 2001 at various locations. If you have not seen it, I recommend you come along to one of the viewings. If you are a journalist or blogger, the press conference is the right place to ask questions.

At the Press conference, we will deal with the aftermath of Diaz and the implications for the Italian La Maddalena G8 2009.

Will the Diaz and Bolzaneto trials travel towards ECHR Strasbourg or appeal to the Rome Supreme Court? There will be several news announcements about future developments concerning Diaz.

Due to the fact that the Diaz verdict failed to prevent the same men that commanded the raid will be in command of the italian police and army operation. This is the worst news for any victim. Not only to lose the battle for justice but also to understand that something like the events of Genoa could happen again. It is as though no lessons have been learned despite several expensive trials and many convictions.

The Diaz victims and the GLF will brief journalists on the current state of security in Italy on the run up to the first G8 that Obama, the first black president of the USA. The nature of what Obama is up against and will also field questions about berlusconi's policy towards climate change.

The press conference will have a photo show on display from those days during the Genova G8.

Speakers: Matt Foot UK Diaz lawyer, Italian lawyers (with translators), Mark Covell and Carlo Baroschmitt (GLF) and others

on Friday 5th December
at 10.30 am (until 12 noon)
The Hub meeting room
33 Corsham Street
London N1 6DR

hope to see some of you at one of the viewings or press conference.

Mark Covell indymedia


Images and footage from the 2001 demonstrations in Genoa went all around
the world, from police vans attempting to run down lone demonstrators to
the pictures of Carlo Giuliani after a Carabinieri officer had murdered

The reconstruction of these events has taken place in the Italian courts
during the many trials that have occurred over the last seven years.
Some demonstrators have suffered severe penalties, amounting to 110
years of sentences. At the same time many police officers have been
accused of offences ranging from attempted murder to abuse of office and
false testimony.

The offices of the Genova Legal Secretariat have been set up to aid the
lawyers accusing police officers and defending demonstrators. Their task
has mainly revolved around the reconstruction of video and photographic

The film OP Genova is one of the results of this work and has been used
to defend the demonstrators accused of devastating and looting the city.
It also provides many insights into the way public order was mismanaged
by the police during the demonstrations.

The film screening will be followed by a discussion with some of the
film makers about the making of the film and the legal aftermath of
Genova's counter-summit.

*Fri 5 Dec*
10h30 – 12pm Press Conference in 33 Corsham Street, London N1 6DR
7pm on Dissident Island Radio

*Sun 7 Dec*
6h30 pm Kebele Community Cooperative – Bristol
14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol BS5 6JY

*Tu 9 Dec*
7pm Pogo Cafe: 76 Clarence Road, Hackney, London E5 8HB

*Wed 10 Dec*
7pm Larc 62, Fieldgate Str. Whitechapel, London E1 1ES 020 7377 9088

Uproar as top police cleared of attack on Genoa G8 protesters

• Junior officers sentenced, but will not go to jail
• Savage beatings left some peaceful victims in coma
John Hooper in Genoa
The Guardian, Friday November 14 2008
Article history
There was uproar in a Genoa court last night after some of Italy's highest-ranking police officers, accused of masterminding a savage attack on peaceful protesters at the G8 meeting in the city seven years ago, were cleared of the charges against them.

The area reserved for the public erupted into chants of "shame, shame" as the presiding judge finished reading his verdict. The mother of one of the victims clambered on to a crash barrier and screamed: "We'll have our revenge".

Enrica Bartesaghi, the head of a pressure group formed by victims' relatives, told the Guardian: "My daughter was beaten so badly she was taken to hospital. She will receive €5,000 [£4,300]. Unfortunately, ours is no longer a civilised country. The sentence is an insult [to her]."

The three judges handed out sentences of up to four years to some of the operational commanders. But none of them will have to go to jail, because their offences will expire under a statute of limitations early next year.

None of the officers who carried out the beatings was a defendant in the trial. All were masked, and none wore names or numbers during the raid. Only one has ever been identified.

Among those acquitted were Giovanni Luperi, who has since been put in charge of the Italian equivalent of MI5, and two of Italy's most senior detectives, Francesco Gratteri and Gilberto Calderozzi. Several of the top police officers accused in the trial were filmed standing outside the building as the beatings proceeded.

Almost 30 people were taken to hospital after the raid, several in comas. An Italian judge subsequently ruled that none of those staying at the Armando Diaz school had had any part in the intensely violent rioting or looting that marked the anti-corporate globalisation protests in Genoa.

A statement issued by some of the victims accused the Italian police of acting "outside the democratic order". It added: "That is possible because they know they enjoy total impunity, as this sentence confirms."

Mark Covell, from Reading, one of five Britons injured in the attack, said: "The evidence was overwhelming. There is no justice here. I feel sorry for Italy."

Evidence was brought by the prosecution that police had planted two petrol bombs at the school to try to show that its occupants were violent subversives. But only the junior officers who carried the Molotov cocktails on to the premises were convicted, and their sentences and convictions have also expired under the statute of limitations.

Last night's impassioned scenes came after four years of legal wrangling. Preliminary hearings in three cases arising from the most violent of G8 protests began in 2004. The first to conclude ended in December last year, when 24 demonstrators were found guilty of damage to property and looting. They were jailed for between five months and 11 years.

In July, 15 police officers and doctors who were on duty at a holding centre near Genoa were found guilty of brutally mistreating detainees, including many from the Diaz school. The court heard of threatened rapes, sadistic maltreatment, and of detainees being forced to bark like dogs and sing anti-Jewish songs.

Those convicted of the abuses received sentences of up to five years in jail. But, again, none will serve time. The sentences, together with the convictions, will be cancelled when the statute of limitations takes effect next year.

No justice in Genoa
The G8 protesters were brutalised, yet the Foreign Office showed complete indifference
Comments (77)

Matt Foot
The Guardian, Saturday November 15 2008
Article history

Rich Moth and Nicola Doherty had waited a long time for the verdict. But, seven years on, they have been sorely disappointed. On Thursday night, some of Italy's highest-ranking police officers, accused of masterminding a savage attack on peaceful G8 protesters, including Moth and Doherty, in 2001, were cleared of the charges against them.

More than 60 people were taken to hospital after the raid, several in comas. Yet none of the officers who carried out the beatings was even a defendant in the trial. All were masked, and none wore names or numbers during the raid. Only one has ever been identified.

In July 2001, Moth and Doherty travelled to Genoa to join 300,000 protestors in the huge anti-globalisation demonstration against the G8 meeting taking place there. On the Saturday night they decided to stay at the Diaz school, which the local council had given over to people travelling from out of town. But, as they were zipping up their sleeping bags, riot police battered down the front door and streamed in, lashing out indiscriminately.

The pair fled upstairs but there was no escape. As a riot squad walked down the dark corridor, methodically beating those cowering there, Rich lay on top of Nicola to protect her. Officers took it in turns to hit them with batons and kick them, leaving Rich covered with bruises and with a serious gash to the head, while Nicola sustained a fractured wrist.

But this week, after four years of legal wrangling, justice has not been done, The three judges handed out sentences of up to four years to some of the operational commanders, but none of them will have to go to jail, because their offences will expire under a statute of limitations early next year. So what was the verdict on this appalling episode of police brutality?

The five Britons injured in the attack, including Mark Covell, who was almost killed, Dan McQuillan and Norman Blair have tried to move on with their lives, but this decision leaves them without closure. The British government harps on about victims' rights but at the same time shows complete indifference to the plight of these people. Foreign ministers have ignored their letters and the current incumbent has refused to meet them. Presumably these are not the right sort of victim.

Back in July 2001, from the luxury of the yacht where the G8 summit took place, the then foreign secretary Jack Straw reminded us of the need to uphold the rule of law and insisted that he was certain the Italian judicial system would see justice done. These have proved hollow pronouncements.

During the byzantine trial process, the victims of this astonishing episode of police brutality have three times had to brace themselves to recount in court their dreadful experiences - each time the evidence given through tears. They even had the ignominy of facing serious charges that they themselves had been involved in violent disorder, allegations which were later found to be trumped up. The court has made a political decision which reflects more Silvio Berlusconi's return to office than the truth.

Anyone who spends two seconds looking at the video of the police riot at the Diaz school can see that it must have been ordered from on high. It is inconceivable that separate police squads from different parts of the country poured into Diaz school at the same moment and starting beating people without prior briefing and orders.

Rich Moth described the scene in the school that night with bleeding bodies strewn around as like the Crimean war. The sadness and travesty of this latest decision can only confirm the trusted phrase - no justice no peace.

• Matt Foot is the solicitor for both Richard Moth and Nicola Doherty

Mark Covell
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04.12.2008 19:22