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November 2008 13th Genoa

- Italy court clears top police of Genoa G8 violence

- Italian court acquits top police officials over violence at 2001 G8

- 13 Italian police convicted of G-8 violence

Italy court clears top police of Genoa G8 violence

GENOA, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian court on Thursday found 13 police officers guilty of beating protesters at the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001, but acquitted 16 others, including the most senior police officials.

The convicted policemen were sentenced to between one month and four years in prison. But a lengthy appeals process and a statute of limitations which annuls sentences after a given period of time mean that none are actually likely to spend any time in prison.

One protester was killed during the three-day Group of Eight summit in Genoa where clashes were among the most violent at any meeting of the club of rich countries. The talks are regularly dogged by protests by anti-globalization groups and left-wing demonstrators.

The subsequent investigation focused on a charge into the Diaz high school which had been turned into the headquarters of protesters staging an alternative "summit."

Italian media focused on the acquittal of the three most senior officers, who now have top jobs in Italy's police force, one in the anti-terrorism unit and one in the secret services.

Onlookers in the courtroom shouted "Shame!," when the 16 verdicts of acquittal were read out.

The court sentenced the defendants to a total of 35 years and 7 months in prison, compared with prosecutors' request of more than 109 years.

"Today is one of the saddest days in the post-war history of the republic," said Vittorio Agnoletto, one of the organizers of the no-global movement at the summit and now a member of the European Parliament for the Communist Refoundation party.

"From now on police chiefs who allow their men to smash the the heads and the backs of people sleeping peacefully can be sure of impunity and the guarantee of a fine career."

Interior Ministry Undersecretary Alfredo Mantovano, of the right-wing National Alliance party, said the sentence showed Italy's police force is "healthy and deserves everybody's gratitude."

Eighty-two protesters, among them Italian, British, Polish and Irish, were injured during the raid on the school on the night of July 21-22, 2001, and 63 had to be treated in hospital.

Police said at the time the protesters had attacked security forces shortly before the raid, and that weapons had been found at the school. But the investigation showed that the protesters, many of whom were sleeping when the police broke into the school, were defenseless and had not reacted violently.

(Editing by Richard Balmforth)


Italian court acquits top police officials over violence at 2001 G8

Genoa, Italy - An Italian court handed down sentences Thursday in Genoa against 13 police officers accused of violence against protestors at the 2001 Group of Eight summit in the city but acquitted several high-ranking officers in the case.

Shouts of 'shame, shame!' from many of those in the courtroom's public gallery accompanied the late evening reading of the verdicts and sentences, which came after some 11 hours of deliberations by judges.

Among those attending the evening court session were people who were beaten when police raided a school that was being used as a headquarters by anti-globalization groups during the G8.

Prosecutors had asked for a combined total of more than 100 years of jail for the 29 defendants, many of whom had been indicted on charges of assault and causing grievous bodily harm related to the raid at the Diaz school.

Judges acquitted 16 of the defendants, including three who currently serve as top police and security officials in Italy.

The remaining 13 defendants received jail sentences amounting to a combined total of 35 years and fines related to the repayment of damages caused to protestors.

The 2001 G8 summit in the north-western Italian port city triggered some of the most violent protests that have often accompanied meetings of the so-called 'club of rich nations.' One protestor was killed during the street clashes around the three-day meeting.

Scores of demonstrators, some of whom had travelled from other countries, were injured during the raid at the school on the night of July 21-22, 2001. More than 60 people were treated in hospital.

Authorities at the time said they believed the school was being used to store weapons used by a violent fringe of protestors who engaged in street battles with police.

Following the raid, police produced several poles and two Molotov cocktail petrol bombs, which they said had been seized from the school. A subsequent investigation proved the allegations false, along with claims that protestors who were sleeping at the time of the raid reacted violently against police.

In a separate trial in July, a Genoa court handed out jail sentences for brutality to 15 police and prison officials blamed for excessive violence against summit protestors.

Those charges mostly stemmed from the beatings suffered by scores of anti-globalization protesters while they were detained in a barracks.


13 Italian police convicted of G-8 violence

ROME (AP) — An Italian court convicted 13 police officers Thursday of violence against protesters during the 2001 Group of Eight summit in the northern Italian city of Genoa.

The officials were charged with inflicting violence, abusing their powers and other offenses during a pre-dawn raid on a school where the protesters were staying.

At the end of a three-year trial, the court in Genoa handed down jail sentences ranging from one month to four years and ordered those convicted to pay damages to the victims.

Judges cleared 16 other officers on trial, sparking anger and shouts of "shame, shame" from activists gathered at the courtroom late Thursday. The rulings can be appealed.

Police raided the Diaz school at the end of a G-8 summit marred by massive protests, with some groups turning violent and rampaging through the city. The officers said they were acting on a tip that violent demonstrators were hiding there.

Many of the Italian and foreign activists in the school said they were attacked while they slept and gave accounts of police brutality. The serious injuries reported and the images of blood plastering the walls and floors of the school sparked an outcry in Italy and abroad.

At least one of the officers convicted Thursday, Michelangelo Fournier, confirmed some of the allegations, testifying that police beat up defenseless people and left the school looking like a "butcher's shop." Fournier, a top official in Rome, received a two-year sentence.

The violent riots by anti-globalization activists during the July 2001 summit left one protester dead, more than 200 people injured, 240 detained and millions in damages.

This summer a court convicted 15 Italian officials of abusing protesters in detention at a police garrison in Genoa.

Last year, judges also convicted 24 protesters of devastation and looting, giving them sentences ranging from five months to 11 years in prison.