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c1 - letter * The Committee for the Prevention of Torture - Council of Europe

Brussels, 4th December 2003

To the attention of:

The Committee for the Prevention of Torture 

Council of Europe

I am writing in order to denounce the inhuman and degrading treatment given to the prisoners of the Italian Republic subject to the special detainment or "hard prison" regime, in so far as Law 279 turned the transitory, exceptional nature of the penitentiary system detailed in article 41 bis into an integral part of the Penitentiary Act.

To this effect please find enclosed:

The report The use of solitary confinement in Italy: the situation regarding the 41 bis regime, by MARIACARMEN COLITTI, Legal Adviser of No Peace Without Justice; extracted from the dossier Special Prisons in Europe - France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom prepared by the Brussels NGO "Right to Law".

The report published last year following a visit to all Italians detained under regime 41 bis with the aim to inform the Italian parliament, which was discussing the case for turning the transitory, exceptional nature of the penitentiary system detailed in article 41 bis into an integral part of the Penitentiary Act;

The report following the last visit to the 4 Italian female detainees under the 41 bis regime at the Rome Rebibbia feminine prison, which took place last November 23rd.

Further to the adoption of the law that has turned "hard prison" into an integral part of the Penitentiary Act, I have made additional visits in which a worsening of detainment conditions has been noticed.

Regarding the possibility of having an effective appeal, the appeals raised before the Supervision Court by the detainees were discussed over a period of time from 60 to 180 days, and not within 10 days from the date of their presentation as provided for by law.

Provided that the Committee is due to meet in Italy in 2004, I would like to point out that, amidst the various prisons currently keeping detainees under the 41 bis regime, at least two of them would deserve a visit.

The first one is the Naples Secondigliano prison, in which, in one of its sections, used as a so-called Clinical Centre, the detainees are abandoned by themselves, in particular detainee Laudani Alfio, aged 57, who has been in a neuro-vegetative state for 4 years.

The second one is the Parma prison, whose detainment conditions are even more appalling if possible, not least owing to the fact that, while in other prisons surveillance is entrusted to a specialised body known as GOM (Gruppo Operativo Mobile), in that of Parma the officers do not have any particular skills for relation to the detainees.

To my understanding, ad hoc CPT visits to all prisons keeping detainees under 41 bis regime would be necessary in addition to ordinary visits.

Yours truly,

Maurizio Turco

Member of the European parliament

EP Rapporteur on "The rights of prisoners in the European Union"