28 March 2012
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On 7 October 2010, a deal was struck whereby the family of Federico Aldrovandi, the teenager who died in Ferrara after an early-morning encounter with the police during which he was beaten on 25 September 2005, was granted two million euros in compensation. Their lawyer, Fabio Anselmi, explained that he was pleased from a professional viewpoint because this “is an undoubtable admission of responsibility”, although he was “upset from a human perspective as he “would have liked to have been part of the appeal [trial]”.
In fact, the condition imposed for the compensation was that the family would not be represented as plaintiffs in ongoing proceedings. Four officers were convicted to sentences of three years and six months in the first trial for culpable excesses in a manslaughter, after it was found that they acted excessively, did not act when he called to them for help, beat him using truncheons, two of which were broken in the incident, and handcuffed him face down on the ground, a position that is deemed to have caused the positional asphixia from which he died. Three others were found guilty for the resulting cover-up and proceedings against a fourth are still underway. Alongside other victims of violence by law enforcement agency officers, the Aldrovandis are setting up an association whose purpose will be to “ask the state for help in order for it not to leave people who are in these situations alone”. In fact, the eighteen-year-old’s death had not been deemed worthy of an investigation after it was dismissed as a case resulting from self-harm as a consequence of drug use of until Federico’s mother, Patrizia Moretti, opened a blog in January 2006 in which she published photographs of Federico’s bruised body, and evidence that she had been collecting concerning the incident which belied official statements as to its nature.
Other families that have been engaged in similar struggles to discover what happened to their sons or to bring charges against the culprits include Stefano Cucchi, who was arrested in Rome for drug dealing and died, heavily bruised, within a week of being taken into custody, and Gabriele Sandri, a Lazio fan who was shot by a motorway police officer in service station in Badia del Pino, near Arezzo (Tuscany).
On 9 October 2010, in the blog dedicated to her son, Patrizia Moretti explained how she had wondered about whether accepting this “due and significant” compensation from state institutions was equivalent to “selling my son”, and of how she hoped that it was “an important step” in the state’s acknowledgement and apology over what happened. She added that, even if they were to continue in appeal and the Corte di Cassazione (Italy’s highest appeal court): “the police officers who killed my son will never spend a day in jail”, and they “will remain in service” even if they were to lose both appeals. Both her and Stefano Cucchi’s sister, who has been prominent in attempts to ascertain the truth about her brother’s death (see Statewatch, vol. 19 no. 4), have expressed their displeasure for being singled out as “defamators and jackals” [Moretti in response to claims by police representatives] and for “feeling like we are the ones who have done something wrong” [Ilaria Cucchi at the presentation of an Associazione Antigone report on the prison system dedicated to her brother in Rome on 22 October 2010].
Repubblica, 9.10.2009; Corriere della Sera, 9.10.2010
Blog dedicated to Federico Aldrovandi: http://federicoaldrovandi.blog.kataweb.it/
Previous Statewatch coverage
Italy: Teenager beaten to death by police in Ferrara?, January 2006 http://www.statewatch.org/news/2006/jan/02italy-teenager.htm
Italy: Police officers investigated over Ferrara death, Statewatch, vol. 16 no. 1, January-February 2006.
Italy: Manslaughter trial for officers in Aldrovandi death, Statewatch; vol. 18, no. 1, January-March 2008.
Italy: Officers found guilty for teenager’s death in Ferrara, July 2009, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2009/jul/01italy-teenagers-death.htm
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