Italian Senate approves bill outlawing torture

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Rome, May 17 (IANS/AKI) The Senate, the upper house of Italy’s parliament, on Wednesday approved a bill introducing the crime of torture with 195 votes in favour, 8 against and 34 abstentions.

The bill now returns to the lower house of parliament for final approval.

Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando urged the Chamber of Deputies to vote the bill into law without delay, saying it filled “a very grave gap in Italian legislation”.

Italy is required to introduce the crime of torture under the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the Italian parliament in 1988.

Luigi Manconi, the Italian Senator who presented the torture bill, refused to take part in Wednesday’s vote, claiming that a series of amendments made to the draft law had “turned it upside down” since the original version was approved by parliament’s lower house in April 2015.

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The Council of Europe rights watchdog has repeatedly urged Italy to pass a torture law to punish episodes of brutality such as the infamous police raid against anti-globalisation protesters at the Genoa G8 summit in July 2001.

Eighty-two people were wounded, 61 of them seriously and three critically in the raid by masked anti-riot police at Genoa’s Armando Diaz school, where protesters were sleeping. A British journalist attacked by police was left in a coma with rib and spinal injuries and many people were beaten senseless and had bones broken during the raid.

The Italian government has agreed to pay six victims of police brutality at the Genoa G8 summit 45,000 euros each in compensation, the European Court of Human Rights said in April.

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In 2012, 25 Italian police officers were found guilty of falsifying evidence concerning the Armando Diaz raid but none served jail time, due to the expiry of Italy’s statute of limitations.

The national police chief at the time of the Genoa G8 summit, Gianni De Gennaro, was acquitted at the end of the appeals process.



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