Radical media, politics and culture.

From Coffin Ships to a Priest's Fists

[During the summer of 2003 I took part in a border camp in Frassanito along with friends from Rome and further afield. It's a small town on the Salento coast, but was chosen because it is nearby the CPT mentioned below. For the moment, however, just some facts.]

In March 2005 don Cesare Lodeserto, director of the immigrant detention centre (CPT, "centri di permanenza temporanea") "Regina Pacis" di San Foca a Melendugno, on the southeast coast of Italy near Lecce, was arrested for a range of abuses (assault, illegal detention) carried out against those incarcerated in his care.

On 12 May 5 people from involved in this campaign, all from Lecce, were arrested on charges of subversive association with intent to subvert democratic order. Press coverage has sensationalized them as anarcho-insurrectionalists, a recurring obsession of several italian newspapers who regularly publish creative writing presented as 'news' speculating on the danger posed by this tendency. Little or no attention has been spent on examining the maltreatment suffered by those unfortunate enough to be in the custody of this employee of the Curia of Lecce (bishop Rupi). Simultaneous with their arrest occurred at least 20 searches in Aosta, Cagliari, Torino, Trento, Trieste, Chieti, Taranto and Catania. The arrest warrants were issued by a local prosecutor in Lecce, Antonio Del Coco. Those under arrest are always been investigated for direct actions against Benetton and Esso.

On May 26th the prelate was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for having faked death threats to himself. Meanwhile his trial (alongside eighteen others accused of similar offenses including members of the police and other personnel in the CPT) continues. Some of these offenses occurred in the context of an attempted escape by thirty migrants from Regina Pacis in november 2002. The priest recounted how there had subsequently been 17 other similar incidents.

On the same day further arrests took place in Viterbo and Pescara as part of the same investigation for subversive association.

A grassroots inquiry into legal action against protagonists of social struggles estimates the total number of those accused in recent years at 8000.