Police in Sicily mark Sudanese "illegals" with numbers

La Repubblica reports that two weeks ago police in Agrigento, a city on the eastern coast of Sicily, wrote numbers on the arms and hands of forty-one immigrants from Sudan for identification purposes with felt tip pens. A priest, don Baldassare Meli, who works in the Santa Chiara "reception centre" in Palermo, was the first to discover and report this. "I have worked with immigrants for fifteen years, and I have never come across anything like this", said the priest, who added that "this incident with numbers on people's skin takes us back to half a century ago", clearly referring to the fascist period. Agrigento head of police Fulvio Della Rocca admitted this had happened, explaining that "we are in a permanent emergency with regards to illegals, we usually use numbered cards for identification, but on that day there had been many arrivals". He added that "it only happened once and won't happen again."

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