On July 13th 2012, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the major court of last resort, upheld the conviction of ten Italian protesters, all sentenced to imprisonment for ‘devastation and looting’ during the 2001 G8 protests in Genoa. In particular, they were convicted of breaking shop windows, making barricades, and the alleged looting of a supermarket. The relevant Italian law, contained in the Rocco code, dates back to 1930: part of the penal code of Mussolini’s fascist regime, it has never been reformed since. It was originally created to respond to real situations of devastation and looting during a War regime, and is now being reinterpreted to target demonstrations of social dissent. One of its features is that people can be convicted just for “psychic co-participation”, without the state having to prove any explicit association between the defendants. So, for example, you could be imprisoned for up to 6 years just for standing next to somebody breaking a shop window; or up to 10 years if you help them break it.
Francesco Puglisi and Vincenzo Vecchi are the two of the “Genoa 10″ who have received the most severe sentences for crimes of “devastation and looting”: 15 and 13 years.
Two more people, Alberto Funaro and Marina Cugnaschi (sentenced to 10 years, and 12 years and 3 months) were imprisoned immediately. Ines Morasca, sentenced to 6 years and 6 months, had her prison sentence suspended due to parental duties (she has a very young child). The remaining five have been granted the right to appeal against some of the charges. They have been found guilty of “devastation and looting”, but can present evidence to reduce their sentences by proving that they were influenced by the ‘mob mentality’ around them.
A campaign, called 10X100 (i.e., 10 people, 100 years of prison) has been launched to support the defendants. The campaign is aimed at collecting money for legal expenses, to support those who are already in jail and their families, and to bring solidarity to them all.
Five of the defendants have been granted right to appeal against other related charges, and their cases will be re-examined by the judges. The other five had their appeals rejected and were imprisoned. Anarchist comrade Francesco ‘Jimmy’ Puglisi, who went on the run after being sentenced to 14 years in prison following a trial for “devastation and looting” during the 2001 Genoa revolt, was arrested in Barcelona on June 5, 2013. He was then extradited to Italy. Francesco Carrieri, one of the comrades arrested following the events on October 15 2011 in Rome, has been accused of breaking his bail conditions and sent back to jail.