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Italians sentenced in G8 riots case
Up to 15 security officers get jail terms for abuse of protesters during 2001 event.
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2008 12:54 GMT
The 2001 G8 summit was marked by clashes on the streets of Genoa [Getty Images]

An Italian court has jailed 15 members of the security forces and acquitted 30 others over the riots that erupted on the sidelines of the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, Ansa news agency reports.

The Genoa court sentenced on Monday 15 people to prison terms ranging from five months to five years.

The heaviest penalty, five years, was handed to Biagio Gugliotta, the inspector of the prison police.

Protesters from Italy, Britain, France, Germany and elsewhere had claimed they were beaten by police, strip-searched, denied food, phone calls or access to consulates while detained.

The 45 members of the security services, including military police, members of the prison system and doctors, were accused of physical and verbal abuse of protesters.

'Client innocent'

Alessandro Vaccaro - a lawyer for Gugliotta - insisted that his client was innocent and said he would appeal against the ruling.

He said Gugliotta and the others are unlikely to go to jail since some of the lesser sentences were suspended and the statute of limitations for the more serious offenses expires early next year, long before any appeals trial would be completed.

The alleged crimes took place in a barracks in Bolzaneto, just outside Genoa, where 250 arrested protesters were taken.

In the barracks' medical centre, several women were forced to strip naked in the presence of male officers.

'Too light'

Alfredo Galasso, who represented two Italians held in the garrison, said the sentences were too light, but that "it is positive that they punished the behaviour of a group of police officers who acted against innocent and unarmed people".

Vittorio Ranieri Miniati, the prosecutor, was quoted by Ansa as saying: "The court recognised that something serious happened in the  barracks of Bolzaneto.

"At the same time, the court acquitted some of the suspects. We will read the verdict and decide if we will appeal."

One person died in the clashes between protesters and security forces at Genoa, and the violence has led to three trials, two of them against the security forces.

In the second trial, which is under way, 29 police and members of the prison medical service are accused of beating protesters and conducting arbitrary searches at the Diaz school where detainees were held.

In the third trial, targeting the anti-globalisation protesters, 24 people were sentenced last December to between five months and 11 years in jail.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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