Statewatch News online: report by German MPs on Genoa

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Report by Annelie Buntenbach and Hans-Christian Ströbele,
Members of the German Bundestag,
on their trip to Genoa on 25 and 26 July 2001

Following initial reports and newspaper articles on the arrests in Genoa in the wake of the G8 summit on Monday, 23 July 2001, Members of Parliament Cem Özdemir and Hans-Christian Ströbele issued a statement to the press on the morning of 24 July calling for an investigation of the events in Genoa, in particular of the circumstances surrounding the arrests, and for the setting up of an independent international commission of inquiry (cf. annex 1).

MP Buntenbach had already received initial calls on Sunday, 22 July, from individuals expressing their concern for the whereabouts and well-being of friends and relatives who had gone to Genoa to take part in the protests against the G8 summit. News reports about the bloody arrests at the Diaz School had given cause for concern in particular. Despite attempts by the German Foreign Office to get information from the police in Genoa, the situation on Monday, 23 July, seemed to be even more confusing than beforehand.

On Tuesday, MP Ströbele received reports from Italy that those arrested had been severely maltreated at the time of their arrest and had been beaten and tortured at police stations. Numerous demonstrators from Germany were reported to be in hospital suffering from severe injuries. It was also said that close relatives and lawyers were not being allowed access to the prisoners. No reliable information was to be had from the German consulate. Callers from Italy requested all the more urgently that Members of Parliament come to Genoa to contact the prisoners and make the matter public.

On Tuesday afternoon (24 July), MP Ströbele made a decision to set off the next morning for Genoa. The German Foreign Office promised over the phone that it would provide support via the German consulate in Milan. Mr Höpfner, and later Mr Hartmann of the Foreign Office assisted in preparing the trip. That evening, MP Ströbele talked to MP Buntenbach who, independent of him, had also decided to set off, and they agreed to meet the next day in Genoa and try to visit the prisoners together.

Talks in Genoa

At about 12:00 on Wednesday afternoon (25 July), MP Ströbele arrived in Genoa, accompanied by a journalist and the brother of the prisoner, Mr A. The mother of this prisoner had called MP Ströbele the night before, asking him to visit her son. MP Ströbele was received by the German Consul General, Ms. Mayer-Schalberg. At the airport, they met a delegation of Germans from the coordination centre for imprisoned demonstrators, who had arrived from Milan.

The members of the delegation reported that they had been present Saturday night at the Social Forum in Genoa when the police search took place. A press and communication centre had been set up at the Social Forum during the G8 gathering. This centre had also attempted to coordinate the demonstrations. The police broke into the offices of the Forum Saturday night, hours after the end of the last demonstrations. Everyone present was forced to lie on the ground. It was only thanks to the intervention of a Member of the European Parliament that the police simply searched the offices and nothing worse happened.

A journalist was present at the Social Forum. She reported that she and another journalist friend of hers were taken to police headquarters in Genoa. They were taken to a room on the top floor of the building, to the right of the staircase, with a sign on the door reading something like "Narcotrafficanti" (narcotics dealers). In the room they were made to stand against the wall and were threatened by the police. They showed them their press cards. While the documents were being checked over, they were spit at and humiliated. The police held their fists at her head cracking the joints in their fingers. There was a pornographic calendar on the wall. When it was moved aside, it revealed a portrait of Mussolini and Fascist symbols. The journalists were released once their I.D. had been checked.

After searching the Social Forum centre, the police stormed the Diaz School on the other side of the street. This was witnessed by the people at the Social Forum centre. The police used a motor vehicle to break through the wrought-iron gate of the school courtyard. A large number of policemen then stormed the school, above which two helicopters were hovering. Up to that time, there had been no reports of any violent activity having originated from the Social Forum or the school. The school served as a place for demonstrators to spend the night.

Shortly after police stormed the building, shouts and screaming were reportedly heard. People were soon thereafter brought out on stretchers. The injured were taken to ambulances, which had arrived with the police and were waiting on the street in front of the school. All the other people in the school, several dozen reportedly, were taken away in police vehicles.

After the police withdrew from the school, bloodstains could be seen all over the floors, walls and doors. The interior of the whole building was in a state of ruins. Clothing, other objects and travel necessities lay strewn on the floor throughout the rooms.

The people at the Social Forum also reported that over the previous days, young people had repeatedly been arrested in their cars in Genoa, without any apparent reason, and had been beaten up at police stations. The German Consul General reported that on Monday and Tuesday (23 and 24 July), young Germans had been arrested in their cars and were now in prisons in Genoa. For this reason, the members of the Social Forum no longer felt safe in Genoa. They moved to Milan and attempted from there to organize assistance for the prisoners. They had been unable to contact the prisoners as yet. Close relatives, mothers, parents, brothers and sisters, had been refused permission to visit the prisoners. These relatives were only able to talk to the doctors to ascertain that the prisoners were being cared for and that they were doing well, under the circumstances. The policemen posted at the doors to the hospital rooms prevented all contact between the prisoners and their families. Lawyers had not been able to talk to the prisoners.

The San Martino Hospital in Genoa

MP Ströbele and the Consul General initially went to the San Martino Hospital in Genoa to visit gravely injured women being held in detention there. The people from Milan asked that the car be kept in sight all the time because they were afraid of being stopped and arrested.

In the San Martino hospital, MP Ströbele met a nurse who had been present on the night in which the injured young people had been brought in. She reported that the injured had wept and groaned in many different languages. It was a terrible sight, she said. Even in the hospital, the injured were harassed and beaten by the police. Several emergency operations were carried out on Sunday, 22 July. The nurse was willing to give the MP her telephone number for any further questions.

Two Italian members of parliament, Graziella Mascia and Vincenzo Marco, arrived at the hospital. The German and Italian MPs agreed to work together and exchange any information they might receive.

MP Ströbele and the German Consul General were initially prevented from meeting the patients under detention. A lawyer informed them that the prisoners were currently being examined by a judge and that the judge would take a decision with regard to incarceration.

After about an hour and a half, they were let into the ward which had been sealed off. In the corridor there were eight male and two female police officers. In one room, there were two young women, one from Spain and the other, Ms B, from Germany.

Ms. B reported that she was now doing relatively well once again. She still had a headache. She had been spending Saturday night at the school to wait for her train the next day. Police, reportedly from the Digos Unit, broke into the school without warning. She raised her hands and cried: "Okay, okay!" and " peace, peace!" There was no question of resistance. She saw nobody offering any resistance or reacting with violence. Some people tried to escape from the room by running up the stairs. She was hit on the head one or more times with a truncheon, lost conscience and woke up on Monday in the hospital. She was suffering from a severe brain concussion and injuries to the head, but she was now feeling better. She added that conditions at the hospital were alright and they were being given sufficient treatment, but that no contact was allowed with relatives. During interrogation, she had made the same declaration before the judge.

Ms B is petite in stature and it is hard to imagine that she could in any way seriously threaten the police or offer resistance.

During this talk, a German prisoner, Ms C, was rolled into the room on a bed. She was not able to speak at first. The judge had interrupted the interrogation because the woman could not talk due to the pain she was suffering from. She received an injection to alleviate the pain and, after a while, was able to talk. She reported that she had been beaten at the Diaz School by the police. She showed an open wound on her head, the size of the palm of her hand. She was also kicked in the breast by a policeman in boots. Blood had penetrated her lungs. During the conversation, blood was flowing through a tube out of her lungs into a receptacle. She complained of severe pain in her breast and was very weak. This women was also petite in stature. She reported that none of those attacked had offered any resistance or shown any signs of violence. There had all been terrified and tried to hide.
When the Consul General asked if there was anything she could do, Ms C requested that she phone her home town to inform a seriously disabled patient whom she cares for daily and goes out with, that she would not be home on time and that he should find someone else to look after him. Ms C spoke positively about the hospital care she had received.

Having left the ward once, MP Ströbele was once again let in and given a brief opportunity to see to a gravely injured young man from England who was in the same ward. He was, however, not allowed to talk to him.

The Consul General and MP Ströbele then visited the gravely injured Mr D from Germany at the San Martino Hospital. He was in another building in a separate room for post-operative patients. Beside a tiny room there was a corridor from which the whole ward could be seen through a large window. Two police officers were standing or sitting at the window and constantly watching the prisoners in their beds. There were at least three other policemen in the corridor leading to the ward. The mother of one injured patient was waiting in the corridor to see her son. Hospital clothing had to be put on in order to enter the ward. Preparations lasted once again almost an hour.

Prisoner Mr D reported that he had been beaten and arrested in the school. He had a large head wound. He had to be operated immediately on Sunday, 22 July, because a blood clot the size of an egg had formed in his head as a result of the beating. The operation went well. He felt better, but still had a headache. He suffered in particular from the fact that the police were constantly staring at him through the window and trying to pester him. He was under constant observation.

He had offered no resistance in the school, nor was he able to offer any resistance. He had tried to escape from the police by running up the stairs to a higher floor. He was beaten up.

He was being well treated in the hospital. The police had taken all his possessions away from him, including his passport. He had newspapers with him, but these were taken away from him for security reasons.

The Galleria Hospital in Genoa

The visitors then drove to the Galleria Hospital. After a long delay, they were given access to the gravely injured patient Mr A from southern Germany. He had just been visited that day by his brother, who had come from Germany with MP Ströbele. Three policemen were guarding the entrance. The door had to be kept open during the visit.

The prisoner was hardly able to talk. He could not move his lower jaw. He reported that he had been lying on the floor in the school and was beaten in the face several times by a policeman with a truncheon. During the beating, both sides of his lower jaw were broken and fractured into pieces. The jaw was screwed together in the hospital while the patient was under general anaesthesia. He was still in pain. He had gone to the school to sleep. He had been lying on the floor and called out: "We surrender." Despite this, they were still beaten up. One policeman held a pistol between his eyes and shouted: "murder, murder." They were then taken to hospital. He saw other people lying on the floor being beaten by the police with truncheons and iron bars.

He works for a United Anti-Racism Initiative. His mother reported that he was also active in the Sühnezeichen movement. He was not allowed to contact his relatives. His brother had only just arrived that day.

The last prisoner to be visited at the Galleria Hospital, on Wednesday, was Mr E. He was in a room with two other patients, though divided from them by a partition. Two policemen were sitting at his bedside. He, too, had been taken into custody at the school. He had tried to escape. He reported that there had been no resistance or violence against the police at the school. He was hit on the head and fell to the floor. He had a large open wound on his head. He reported that in the first days in the hospital he had been handcuffed to his bed. He was also beaten up on his way to the hospital. Other people interviewed made similar declarations later.

The Prison in Vercelli

The delegation then drove to the town of Vercelli, one and a half hours away. Two German women, F and G, were being held in detention at the prison in this town. While they were en route for the town, the Consul General and MP Ströbele received word that the women and other prisoners had just been released. MP Buntenbach, who had arrived via Milan from Germany and was waiting at the prison entrance, confirmed this. The group drove on, nonetheless, hoping that they would be able to meet and talk to the women released. When they arrived, they found that the women were no longer there.

When MP Buntenbach arrived at Vercelli Prison shortly after 17:00, a review of custody had just taken place. There was a group of 10-15 people in front of the prison, among them lawyers, journalists, friends and relatives who were waiting for the prisoners arrested at the Diaz School to be released at any moment. Police vehicles were on hand to drive the released prisoners away immediately. The police did all they could to impede contact between the prisoners and the people waiting for them. It was only when MP Buntenbach had given proof of her status as a member of the German Bundestag and when the prison director had arrived to intervene that she was able to talk to the two German women for two minutes, who were already sitting in a police van.

They said that they were alright. One visible sign of injury was a nose-ring which had been ripped out, now causing an infection. The two women reported that they were being deported by plane to Hamburg against their will. One of the women wanted to visit friends in Milan; the other one wanted to go back to Germany, but to southern Germany, not to Hamburg. MP Buntenbach was not able to stop the police transport to Milan airport. During the attempt to find what legal basis there was for deporting the prisoners, a lawyer from Vercelli stated that all prisoners released by the court authorities, who were not Italian citizens, were to be taken to the border and deported. The lawyer reported the case of one prisoner with dual citizenship, one of which was Italian, who was deported, too, although his parents were waiting at the prison to pick him up.

The same procedure was applied for all the people released on that and the following day. The prisoners were deported from the country by plane, train or bus. This was extremely vexing for the prisoners themselves, and for their friends and relatives. Many of the relatives had driven to Italy for the sole purpose of picking up their incarcerated family members. Many of those released from Pavia and Voghera, who were taken to the Brenner Pass by the police on Wednesday evening, were openly apprehensive that they would be left at the mercy of the police once again after release, i.e. of the men who had maltreated them at the Diaz School or at the police station.

The legal basis for these "deportations" was only clarified on Thursday with the help of the Consulate General. It was a decree from 1965, brought up to date by the Convention applying the Schengen Agreement, according to which, if there is a particular threat to public security, "allontanamento" (removal) is legal. MPs Buntenbach and Ströbele were informed at police headquarters on Thursday that the measure had been decreed directly by the Ministry of the Interior and was carried out by the Prefect of Genoa. It can be assumed that the measure was taken to prevent those arrested from giving interviews locally.

Late that evening, MP Buntenbach received a call from Ms F and Ms G who had arrived in Hamburg. They told her that their identity papers had been kept by the Italian police and they were not able to present any identification to the German border guards (Bundesgrenzschutz) at the airport. The officer in question had threatened to detain them to ascertain their identity because there was seemingly no proof thereof, although the women had been handed over to him by the Italian authorities. The matter was solved when the parents of one of the women were called to come and pick up their daughter, and were thus able to identify her. The other woman was able to use her driver's licence to prove her identity.

On the evening of 25 July and the following night, members of the coordination centre in Milan and the German Consulate General reported that all the women in Voghera prison and the male prisoners in Pavia prison, who had been in the school on the evening of Saturday, 21 July, had been released. The prisoners visited in hospital were also free. The judges could see no reason for their imprisonment. The police withdrew. Injured persons stayed on at the hospital for health reasons.

MP Ströbele received hourly calls that night informing him that the people released were taken by bus under police guard and were deported to Germany.

Talks with the police commissioner (questore) of Genoa

On Wednesday afternoon (25 July), the Consul General succeeded by cell phone from her car in arranging a meeting with the police commissioner (questore) of Genoa for the following morning.

Police Commissioner Colucci received the visitors on Thursday morning (26 July). Also present was the head of the national police Mortola.

The police commissioner began by explaining the strategy of the police in general. Responding to questions as to why the police raided the Diaz School and concerning the brutal behaviour of the police in dealing with the injured, he stated that representatives of the Social Forum had earlier contacted the police and told them that members of the "Black Block" were present in the school and they no longer had the situation under control. He knew the names of these representatives of the Social Forum, but did not want to divulge them. Bottles and stones were also thrown at police vehicles from the school. The police were therefore obliged to enter the building. The doors were barricaded and had to be broken open. The police were attacked in the school, one policeman by a man with a knife. The only reason he was not injured was that he was wearing an armoured vest. He admitted it was possible that some individual policemen may have overreacted. Such overreactions would be investigated and disciplinary proceedings would be instigated. In response to a question as to whether the police would be willing to cooperate with an international commission to investigate events, he did not reject the possibility but noted that the matter would have to be decided by the Minister of the Interior.

In response to a question about persons deported to Germany the night before, he drew attention to the Schengen Agreement which makes such deportations legal. He stressed that the deportees would be free to return to Italy anytime they wished to do so.

The prison in Pavia

After talks with the police commissioner, the members of parliament and the Consul General drove to the prison in Pavia which was one and a half hours away. After the release of prisoners the day before, there were still four young Germans in detention there. The members of parliament met with the representative of the consulate who had waited in front of the prison for five hours the day before in order to talk to the German prisoners, but had not been let in. It was only with great difficulty that the two prison directors could be persuaded to give the members of parliament access. MP Buntenbach was also let in after much delay and consultations with chief state prosecutor.

Prisoner Mr H reported that he, Mr I and Mr J had been on a camping tour for a week. They had come to take part in the demonstrations in Genoa. At about 12:30 Sunday afternoon they lost their directions while driving out of town. They were stopped by the police at a freeway exit and their vehicle was searched. A wrapped up iron bar, a knife and face masks were discovered in the car. They were taken to the police station with a police car in front of them and another one behind them, and were threatened with the words "If you try to drive away, we'll shoot." At the police station they were beaten with truncheons without any evident cause. On his face were signs of the beating. The police demanded that they sign a document in Italian. They refused because they could not read Italian. They were threatened with truncheons and again beaten until they signed. Their long hair was then cut with the knife and all their documents were taken away from them. Then they were taken to prison in Pavia, where they were put into isolation. Up to the present they had not even been permitted to go out into the prison courtyard. Nor were they allowed to contact their relatives or the German consulate. The reason they were not allowed to use the phone was that they had no Italian money with them.

The previous day (25 July), they had been brought before a judge and interrogated. A lawyer was present but they could not make themselves understood to him because he did not speak a word of German. He did not say anything in the presence of the judge. There was an interpreter present at the interrogation, but he spoke bad German. They had the impression that he did not interpret everything they had said.

They wanted to tell the judge that the iron bar and the knife in the car were for their camping trip. They had not brought any face masks with them. These must have been the masks which had been lying about in the streets of Genoa after the demonstrators had tried to protect themselves from teargas. They had come upon such masks and taken them with them. The diving goggles, too. They received a record in German listing the objects from their car. They gave a copy of it to the members of parliament.

The prisoner Mr I was present when talks were held with Mr H. The former confirmed the description provided by the latter and added that a map of the city of Genoa, containing a sketch of the red zone for the G8 meeting, was also taken from their car. They had received this from the Social Forum to help them find their way. They were charged principally on the basis of the map. He also showed traces under his clothes of the beating he had received. He mentioned that they were forced to wear prison shirts and did not even have a toothbrush because everything had been taken away from them. The members of parliament were the first visitors they had received and the first contact they had had with the outside world since their arrest on Sunday (22 July).

Following this, prisoners Mr J and Mr K from southern Germany were brought forth. Mr J had been arrested with the other two. He described what had happened in the same terms as I and H had. He requested that his family be informed as quickly as possible.

Mr K reported that he had only been making a quick visit to the Diaz School to brush his teeth and use the internet. He had not intended to spend the night there. He was downstairs in the hall at the time the police broke in. Those present in the building had not put up resistance or initiated any violent actions. He fled to the second floor and hid there when he saw the police beating everyone around them. It was there that he was arrested. MP Buntenbach arrived at this moment in the conversation. K went on to say that the police had found him in his place of hiding in the school. He was brought before the judge on Wednesday. After interrogation, the judge decided to issue a warrant of arrest. As grounds for the warrant he referred to the vehicle in which K had arrived. This car had been found to contain two backpacks with black clothing and masks. K's identity card had been found in the bus. The prisoner stated that the vehicle belonged to his girlfriend. She, too, had been arrested but was released from prison in Voghera the day before. He demanded to see a lawyer. On Tuesday he had attempted to send a fax to the German Embassy to get a lawyer. During the court hearing, he was without any legal counsel. He asked that his father and his girlfriend in Germany be informed of his situation. The backpacks belonged to other people who had been travelling in the vehicle with them.

A member of the Italian parliament from the Green Party arrived during this visit. Arrangements were made to meet later.

Mr K's girlfriend was called on Friday, 27 July, and confirmed that she had indeed been in Voghera prison until her release on Wednesday evening. She reported that, following her arrest in the school, she and other women had been taken to a police station near Genoa. There, the women were forced to stand against the wall with their arms up all night. The rooms were empty. There were traces of blood on the walls and on the floor. The police had force them to spread their legs and stand against the wall with their hands up. They were insulted and spit at. Truncheons were used to spread their legs and hold them apart. She was the owner of the vehicle. The backpacks found in it belonged neither to her nor to her boyfriend K, but to two people whom they had taken with them.

Visit to the Diaz School

Before MP Ströbele flew back to Germany, the members of parliament and the Consul General paid a visit to the site of the event of Saturday night.

The Diaz School is an old building covered with scaffolding. It is separated from the street by a ca. five metre high wrought-iron fence. A gate, which is closed and locked, leads to an external courtyard. The school building is situated about 15 to 20 metres behind the fence. It is obviously being renovated, but the scaffolding seems to have been there for quite a while. It consists of iron pipes and boarding held in position by clamps. There were also iron pipes lying about. One would need to be an acrobat to be able to throw things out of the school windows and get them over the fence.

Ponte Decimo prison in Genoa

There are two prisons in Genoa in which Germans were being detained: the Ponte Decimo, with eight women and three men, and the Marassi, where a further six men were being held. MPs Buntenbach and Ströbele were not able to visit the latter prison because of time constraints. When MP Buntenbach arrived at the Ponte Decimo prison at about 16:30 with an official from the Consulate General, the review of custody had just taken place for the eight women. Seven of them (L, M, N, O, P, Q, and R) were arrested on Monday, together with the three men now imprisoned in Marassi, as they were travelling in two campers on their way out of Italy. The eighth woman, Ms S, was imprisoned for similar reasons but had been arrested elsewhere.

After more than an hour's delay, MP Buntenbach was able to talk to all the eight women in a group. They said they were being treated properly in prison, were being kept four to a cell, had contact with lawyers and were being cared for by the Consulate General in Milan. The review of custody had unfortunately not led to the release of the prisoners, but to an order for pretrial detention. Asked what they had been accused of, their initial and spontaneous reply was: "black clothing." Also incriminating were the contents of the campers, i.e. numerous hammers and knives etc. found in the tool box. They were not accused, either individually or as a group, of any concrete offences in connection with the demonstrations or any other crimes.

The accusation with regard to the objects confiscated from the campers relates to paragraph 419 of the Italian Penal Code, which is most comparable in German law to a mixture of paragraph 129a of the German Penal Code (StGB) and an aggravated breach of public peace. The minimal sentence for this is eight years The women had arranged with their lawyers to appeal against the decision taken during the review of custody. MP Buntenbach was able to talk briefly to the lawyers. If the appeal which will result in a new review of custody within ten days at the latest is turned down, the judicial authorities will then decide on whether the prisoners will be sent to trial. In Italy, this can last up to a year. According to the laws in force there, the women are not allowed to leave the country during this time. At best, they could be placed under house arrest in Italy so as not to have to stay in prison. They would thus be being punished before trial and sentence, which would result in what is probably an irreparable gap in their CVs. They would no longer be able to get a job or study, and would rarely be able to see their children.

Ms S was in a state of distress because of this. She was also depressed because of the difficulties she was having in making contacts with the outside world, with friends and relatives. For this reason it was difficult in such a situation to get her to respond to questions. She stressed several times, however, that during their arrest, the police had placed objects which did not belong to her in the vehicle and which she had never seen before. The list of these objects was now the basis for the order of pretrial detention.

Following this conversation, which lasted almost up to 19:00, MP Buntenbach had an opportunity to talk for about an hour to Mr T, Mr U and Mr V from eastern Germany. They had been arrested Monday evening (23 July) and had been held in Ponte Decimo since Tuesday, 24 July. The consular official and MP Buntenbach who visited them on Thursday evening were the first contacts they had had with the outside world. Up to that time, they had not been allowed to use the phone because they did not have any money with them. They had not even been able to talk to a lawyer or to the Consulate.

The young men had injuries which MP Buntenbach noticed immediately. Mr U had two black eyes, Mr T had a cracked lip. Both men were getting over their injuries. When asked who caused the injuries, they spoke about their arrest. When they were returning to their car in a parking lot in Genoa on Monday evening (23 July), they discovered it open. The police were busy searching the car for objects. This had already happened to them once that day, but with no further consequences. When they approached the car, they were arrested. They made no attempt to flee or to resist the authorities, as was later asserted by the police. They were taken to the police station, thrown to the ground there, and were beaten and kicked about for four hours. "Every time a new policeman entered the room, he would kick us again." They were then left lying in front of the cell at the police station, were battered once more, and later dragged into the cell. In the early hours of Tuesday, 24 July, they were taken to Ponte Decimo prison, where they were not subjected to any more ill-treatment.

They noted that the document listing the contents of their car was not correct. For example, the list contained part of a police uniform ripped off, which they had never seen and which, they insisted, did not belong to them. They only signed the document because they were threatened with a further beating if they did not. One of the three had a dog and was very worried about the whereabouts of the animal. They urgently requested that a lawyer be found to help them during the coming review of custody and asked the consulate to contact their relatives.

On her return to Genoa, MP Buntenbach transmitted the request of the three young men for a lawyer to the Genoa Social Forum and, later on her journey back to Milan, further transmitted the various requests to the remaining Germans from the coordination centre. It was an enormous effort on her part to help to put order to chaos and to assist the various prisoners. Her efforts need and are worthy of support.


1. None of the German prisoners in Italy whom the members of parliament spoke to had or has been accused of participating in any concrete act of violence. All of them were arrested hours or days after the end of the last demonstration and none of them near the site where the events took place. As far as we know, this is true of the other people from Germany who were arrested.

2. The accusations which led to the issuing of the warrants of arrest for the Germans still in prison relate to suspicion that they were members of the "Black Block." The suspicion is based on objects discovered in their motor vehicles, such as hammers, iron bars, knifes etc, which, had they been carried during a demonstration, could have constituted grounds for criminal proceedings. In a camper or on a camping trip, such objects are quite 'normal.' The members of parliament were given no proof or indication that the objects in question were actually used in demonstrations or of who used them. They were in cars days later, where the police claim to have discovered them.

3. Police documents about the discoveries in the motor vehicles are extremely questionable. The prisoners are said to have signed the documents because they were threatened or beaten up. The prisoners could not read or understand the documents because some of them were written in Italian. They allege that they had never even seen some of the objects in question.

4. The credibility of police statements is extremely questionable because the statements were made by the same policemen who had brutally beaten up, maltreated and humiliated the prisoners, i.e. people who themselves must be suspected of major infringements of the law and of having committed criminal acts. This fact must be taken into account immediately during the next review of custody and not at the main trial.

5. The statements of the prisoners who were arrested at the Diaz School seem credible. They concord with the injuries they were seen to have suffered. Their statements also concord with one another to a large extent. It is not possible for the prisoners to have agreed in advance on what to say since they did not have any opportunity to talk to one another or to third parties from outside the prison since the time of their arrest, as they were held in isolation, were being heavily guarded and were in different prisons and hospitals. Their statements have been confirmed by witnesses to the events both from outside and within the school.

6. Even the arrest of the almost one hundred people in the Diaz School would seem to have taken place without sufficient legal basis. With one exception, all the prisoners were released as soon they were brought before a judge.

7. The prisoners from the school were, in particular, subjected to grave bodily harm with no concrete grounds or reason. The heavy beatings they received on their bare heads from the police truncheons could easily have had fatal consequences.

8. There seems to be no justification for the use of force on the part of the police at the Diaz School. Even if we assume that the demonstrators used violence during the protests at the G8 summit, this does not justify the use of brutal force by the police at the school hours after the end of the demonstration.

9. The treatment at the police stations, as described by those arrested at the school and later in Genoa in general, is confirmed by objective findings. Those arrested were taken uninjured to the stations and showed signs of beatings on many parts of their bodies and on their feet when they left the stations.

10. There is no doubt that the prisoners were kept in custody from Sunday, 22 July to Wednesday or Thursday (26 July) without a court order and were not allowed to contact their relatives or the staff of the German consulate. There seems to be no reason why a court order on further detention could not have been issued the following day, i.e. on Monday, 23 July. There is no justification for making officials from the German consulate wait for hours on end before the prison in Pavia and for not allowing them to speak to the prisoners. No grounds were given, nor would there seem to be any, for not allowing the prisoners to contact their immediate relatives. There is absolutely no justification for such treatment, in particular with regard to the gravely injured prisoners held in the San Martino and Galleria hospitals in Genoa, and it does not accord with minimal humanitarian standards.

11. The deportation of the prisoners who were not accused of having committed a crime does not accord with the basic principle of freedom of movement in Europe. There are no legal grounds for making reentry into Italy unlawful for individuals who were deported. This is also in contradiction to the information which the members of parliament received from the police commissioner during their stay in Genoa.

12. The reports made and facts ascertained lead us without a doubt to the view that there have, in many cases, been deliberate and major infringements to the penal code, to the regulations of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and to the provisions of international law

13. There is an urgent need for all the violent events which took place in connection with the G8 summit in Genoa to be investigated in a complete and open manner, and in particular for responsibilities to be ascertained. An independent commission of the European Parliament composed of reliable and professional figures from various countries should be entrusted with the duty of investigation. The appropriate legal and political consequences must then be drawn from the report of the commission.

Berlin, 30 July 2001

Annelie Buntenbach, Member of the German Bundestag
Hans-Christian Ströbele, Member of the German Bundestag

Bundes 90 Die Grünen, No. 0478/2001, Parliamentary Group Press Service,dated 24.07.2001

The events must be investigated internationally. Dialogue must begin at home

Cem Özdemir, party spokesman for domestic policies, and Hans-Christian Ströbele, member of parliament, made the following declaration with regard to events at the G8 Summit in Genoa from 20 to 22 July:

The events of Genoa, the work of the police and the behaviour of the demonstrators must be investigated by an independent international commission.

It is with shock and dismay that we have read and seen the reports about demonstrators being shot at and about the many casualties in the ranks of the protesters and police. From television broadcasts and press reports it would seem that the escalation of violence in Genoa was also promoted by police action against peaceful demonstrators. Reports alleging close contact between members of the "Black Block" and the police lead one to suspect the existence of cooperation between the police and those provoking the violence, and must be checked. The police search of the Social Forum and the storming of the school across the street from it in the early hours of Sunday morning would seem completely inexplicable and unjustifiable.

The events of Genoa are not simply an inner-Italian matter. They concern us all. The basic right to assemble and to express one's opinion is valid throughout Europe. All EU citizens have the right to gather freely, peacefully and unarmed, and make themselves heard.

This basic right must not be muffled by the confiscation of identity papers or by residence restrictions in Germany, with flimsy excuses being given, as happened in Berlin and Brandenburg dozens of times in the weeks preceding the Genoa summit. Such grave limitations to basic rights and freedoms cannot be justified simply because some people act conspicuously at demonstrations, in particular if they have not been found guilty of by a court. The insufficiently justified restrictions which were imposed in Germany are in contradiction to the principle of commensurable response and were of no use whatsoever. No violence was impeded and they did not contribute to de-escalation. On the contrary, the atmosphere in Genoa was made even worse. The practice of keeping records of demonstrators must also be reviewed.

Critics of the grave consequences of globalization for the poor in the countries of the Third World must be able to voice their protests wherever they wish, in particular at so-called summit meetings, and must be able to make themselves audible for the public, loudly if necessary, but must renounce all use of force. The demand for a dialogue between governments and these critics must not be just lip service. Let us begin with this dialogue in our own country. We must get rid of the impression that the critics of globalization are being criminalized without legal justification. The events of Genoa must be investigated without reserve and in a credible manner.

Statewatch News online

Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error