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Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty
S.O.S. AMNESTY FOR ITALY
It is for this reason that we ask you a few minutes of your time to read this appeal.
Italy escaped Fascism 70 years ago. It is a founding member of the European Union. It is considered a “consolidated democracy”. Yet Italy is poised to diffuse throughout the world, for the second time in a century, a new “contagion” of anti-democracy, a massacre of the Rule of Law, and with it, a massacre of people. In the document below, we have tried to summarize the criminal way in which the Italian State “manages” justice, with its devastating consequences on the economic development and the lives (or deaths) of its citizens. The prisons are the clearest manifestation of this criminal condition. Now our campaign shifts up a gear with a political-electoral proposal for an amnesty to bring the Italian institutions back into legality.
We ask you to consider our arguments and to share your opinion with us in any case. We welcome your thoughts and comments, whether you disagree or, as we hope, you support the objective we propose. We look forward to hearing your views to this email address. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any clarification and/or discussion in further detail. Thank you for considering our proposal and all good wishes for 2013.
Sen. Emma Bonino, vice-president Italian Senate, former Minister and EU Commissioner
Hon. Maurizio Turco, MP, former MEP
S.O.S. AMNESTY FOR ITALY:
(In)justice and the Italian Decline
A State without justice condemns its people and institutions to live in illegality. Today Italy is confronted with 10.8 million proceedings and pending cases (one for every 5.6 inhabitants); 160,000 criminal proceedings are annulled each year because they have exceeded the statute of limitation (between 1996 and 2008 2,058,058 proceedings were thus annulled, for a cost of 84 Million Euro per year); 90 to 95 % of crimes remain unpunished. In 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, estimated that “about 30% of the Italian population was awaiting a judicial decision”.
Where The Italian Plague Has Already Killed: The Prisons
On 31 October 2012 there were 66,685 detainees in Italy, 22,000 more than the total legal capacity of prisons. About 40.1% of the detainees are awaiting a final sentence. The overcrowding rate is 152,5% (the European average is 99,6%). The situation of the Italian prisons was declared “unconstitutional” by Justice Minister Angelino Alfano (15 March 2009) and on 13 January 2010 the Government declared a state of emergency. “[This is] a reality that humiliates us in Europe”, President of the Republic Napolitano said in July 2011. In Italy people die because of prison: according to the research institute Ristretti Orizzonti, between 1990 and 2012, 1120 committed suicide behind bars, 18,164 attempted to do so, while there were 116,570 acts of self-inflicted harm. Over the last 20 years, there has been an average of 1 suicide per 989 detainees. The suicide rate in prison is almost 20 times higher than outside.
Italy: Europe’s Professional Criminal
Italy is among the most frequently condemned countries by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR) for violations of the European Convention on Human Rights and in particular of its article 6, which requires Member States to guarantee a reasonable duration of trials. Italy accounts for no less than 37% of all sentences by the Court for the inefficiency justice. In 2009, Italy was condemned 61 times: more than any other West European State. On 31 December 2009, 7158 Italian cases were pending before the Court, 6% of the total of pending cases (only Russia, Turkey, Romania and Ukraine have larger numbers). Of those cases, 2889 are requests on the excessive duration of trials. In 2010, the damages paid by the Italian State for excessive duration of trials have exceeded 300 million Euros.
A structural problem requires a structural solution. Unless we accept that the Italian State carries on with the violation of international and internal rules, this solution needs to be immediate. The only solution with these characteristics is an amnesty law, the cancellation of almost all judicial proceedings. This would allow for a re-organization of the judicial system, while at the same time focusing on sentencing the gravest crimes in reasonable time. Such an amnesty would allow the political system to bring about the necessary legislative reforms, such as de-criminalisation of certain crimes caused by migration and drugs consumption, as almost unanimously requested by the highest institutions of the State.
An Electoral List for Amnesty, Justice, Freedom
In order to rescue the amnesty not only from its “ban from the current political vocabulary” – as written by the 130 lawyers – but to put it directly at the heart of the electoral debate, the leader of the Radical Party Marco Pannella, during a dramatic nonviolent initiative of total hunger and thirst strike initiated on 10 December 2012 at midnight, launched the proposal for a “List for Amnesty, Justice and Freedom” for the February Italian elections. The aim in this list is to interrupt the blatant criminal condition of the Italian State, and to reverse the process of economic, social and civil decline in Italy.
Several representatives of civil society organizations, journalists, University Professors, Priests, especially those active within the prison system have announced their availability of being part of the "List for Amnesty, Justice and Freedom".
We urge everyone reading this appeal to support this initiative in any possible way.
In the past few years, particularly during the past 24 months, there has been extraordinary and massive support within the prison community for the nonviolent initiatives of Marco Pannella. Tens of thousands of detainees, hundreds of penitentiary agents, psychologists, educators, administrative personnel, chaplains, volunteers, lawyers of all Bar Associations as well as Directors of prisons, have carried out multiple days of hunger strike in support of the different phases of the nonviolent actions by Marco Pannella and other members of the Nonviolent Radical Party. The detainees have regained – also thanks to the radio programme “Radio Carcere” (Radio Prison) hosted by the Italian radio “Radio Radicale” – hope and “have become hope" for the restoration of legality in Italy. They have thus escaped the state of despair over the degrading conditions in which the State forces them to live. From 19 to 22 November of this year only, almost 30,000 detainees sig ned the forms submitted to Radio Radicale from over 80 Italian prisons, to join in for four days of nonviolent mobilization for prisoners’ right to vote and the amnesty.
The last months of the long mobilization for an Amnesty law in Italy:
10-25 December 2012: Marco Pannella in total hunger and thirst strike