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July 15th 2008 Genoa

- Italians jailed over G8 protest

An Italian court has found 15 officials guilty of mistreating protesters following violent demonstrations at G8 meeting in the city of Genoa in 2001.

A judge handed down prison sentences ranging from five months to five years to the accused - who include police, prison officials and two doctors.

Another 30 defendants were cleared of charges, including assault.

Protesters said they were beaten after being strip-searched by police. The prosecution said they were tortured.

All of those convicted are expected to appeal against the guilty verdicts.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says it is unlikely that any of those sentenced will actually serve time in prison because their offences will have expired under Italy's statute of limitations before the appeal process is completed.

However, the Italian government will be forced to pay out millions of pounds to those who were victims of police brutality during their detention.

Organised brutality

Clashes between protesters and police in Genoa in 2001

The 2001 meeting of the G8 in the northern Italian city of Genoa was one of the most violent in the group's history.

Street-battles between demonstrators and police left one protester dead and hundreds of others injured.

Police were accused of organised brutality at a high school where protesters were camping during the summit, and at a police barracks where demonstrators were taken after being arrested.

Among them were protesters from Italy, Britain, Poland and Ireland.

One of the prosecutors in the case, Patrizia Petruziello, said that 40 protesters who were arrested suffered "four out of five" of the European Court's criteria for "inhuman and degrading treatment".

The trial has lasted nearly three years.