GENOA, ITALY -- About 150 protesters detained at the Group of Eight summit in
northern Italy in 2001 were kicked, slapped, tripped, kneed in the groin and dragged
by their hair, according to a report.
Prosecutors in Genoa released a 534-page report over the weekend detailing
"inhuman" and "degrading" behavior by police officers, corrections
officers and doctors at the Bolzaneto police garrison, Italian media reported
Sunday. The extent of the brutality has prompted comparisons to the abuse and
sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
The report denounced what it said was a violation of human rights but stopped
short of describing the abuse as torture.
What happens next is unclear: Nearly four years have gone by, and unless the
judicial process is put on a fast track the statute of limitations could run
out, Milan daily Corriere della Sera reported. The prosecutors themselves, in
their report, suggested presenting their findings to Europe's top human rights
About 500 people were taken to the garrison following a raid against anti-globalization
protesters during the 2001 summit, according to Corriere.
The pre-dawn raid on the Diaz school in Genoa, which housed many protesters,
was one of the most controversial episodes of the July 2001 summit. Some protesters
said they were attacked as they slept. Police said they were acting on a tip
that violent demonstrators were hiding in the school.
The entire summit was marred by violence. A 23-year-old protester was shot
dead by police, more than 200 were injured and more than 300 people were arrested.
The city was ravaged.
In October, a policeman was convicted of clubbing a teenage demonstrator in
the face and ordered to serve 20 months in prison. In December, a judge ordered
28 police officers to stand trial for their alleged brutality in the raid. The
start of the trial was set for this April.
But protesters said the abuse wasn't limited to the streets, continuing after
they were detained.
Those held at Bolzaneto -- many of them from other European countries and the
United States -- said they were physically and mentally abused. They said they
were deprived of food, water and medical care.
Foreign detainees said it took days to see their lawyers and consular officials.
Some European countries lodged formal protests, and the United States expressed
The report acknowledged finding "grave jeopardy to people's rights"
at the hands of 15 police officers, 16 corrections officials, 11 Carabinieri
paramilitary police and five doctors, the Corriere and ANSA news agency reported.
The prosecutors found that a "welcoming committee" at the garrison
insulted, kicked and pushed the detainees upon arrival.
The prosecutors also said the abuse included shoving people's heads in toilets,
forcing at least one detainee on his hands and knees and making him bark like
a dog, and the threat of sexual assault, according to ANSA. Female prisoners
also were forced to strip in front of male officers.