Italy: Teenager beaten to death by police in Ferrara

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The parents of Federico Aldrovandi, an eighteen-year-old boy who died on the night of 25 September 2005 after an encounter with the police, have set up a "blog" in which his mother Patrizia details her experience of the aftermath of the tragedy (below).

After going to Bologna with a group of friends to see a concert that was cancelled, and having taken drugs (possibly ecstasy), on their return to their hometown (Ferrara), Federico decided to walk home. At eight o'clock on the following morning, when Federico's mother called his mobile phone, a policeman answered, asking for his description, adding that his phone had been found on a bench and that inquiries were underway. Repeated phonecalls to the questura (the city police headquarters) did not result in her receiving any information until three hours later, at eleven o'clock, when police officers informed the family of his death, after his body had been removed from the scene of his death. They said that they had done so for her well-being, because it was better for her not to see, and that someone had called the police after hearing shouting in the street, and that he had injured himself on his own by banging his head against walls. The mother notes that "This turned out to be false. It was proven not to be the case by the checks. Federico was disfigured by blows". His clothes were returned, and they were full of blood. Police officers now argued that he had tried to escape, that he had struggled and even climbed on top of a police car, while doctors reported that his scrotum had been squashed, that he had a head injury and several marks of blows all over his body, some of which she saw at the funeral. Police also argued that he had taken drugs and that, if anything, he had harmed himself, and that this had happened because he was a drug addict, and his parents had been unlucky. "They want to kill him twice. The tests confirmed that what he had taken was irrelevant. [It was] Certainly not enough to kill him or to cause aggressive behaviour. If anything, it would have been the opposite." She also explained that he had taken part in a research projects about drugs.

Federico's mother concludes that he must have tried to escape, and that "considering the state he was left in, it is possible to understand how he was stopped. When they restrained him, handcuffed and lying on his stomach, he no longer had the strength to breathe." She is left with a lot of unanswered questions that she seeks to resolve, such as: a) why was he stopped so violently, when he was on his own, unarmed and wasn't a threat to anyone?; b) why wasn't the family told earlier? - "not to let us see him"; c) what would have happened if we had seen him, and what would the impact of the news have been? - in the event, an article in a local newspaper ("drawn from the police headquarters' bulletin") said he had died after feeling ill, whereas an article in another local newspaper on the following day read "Federico disfigured", followed by the head of the procura (prosecutors' office) clarifying that "he did not die because of the blows". It was the first time when an official acknowledged that the blows had taken place. The medical tests to determine the causes of Federico's death have not yet been filed.

The full account is available in Italian on the blog that is available online at:, 2.1.2006
Link: article from "Il Resto del Carlino", Ferrara edition, 11.1.06 

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