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Italy: Judicial harassment of human rights defender

by Alfred Breitman Sunday, Jul. 11, 2010 at 7:47 AM

Petition for the Freedom of Human Rights Defenders: SIGN NOW

Italy: Judicial hara...
everyone.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x427

Italy: Judicial harassment of human rights defenders Mr Roberto Malini, Mr Matteo Pegoraro and Mr Dario Picciau

Petition for the Freedom of Human Rights Defenders: SIGN NOW

Take Action Now:

JULY 10, 2010

Human rights defenders Mr Roberto Malini, Mr Matteo Pegoraro and Mr Dario Picciau are facing criminal charges as a result of their work on behalf of the Roma community in Italy.

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau are co-presidents of EveryOne Group, an organisation which fights discrimination against the Roma population in Italy ( Front Line issued an urgent appeal on 19 February 2010 in relation to the sentencing of Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau to the payment of a fine for 'disturbing a police operation' in December 2008.

On 18 June 2010 Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, as co-presidents of EveryOne Group, received notification of the end of the investigations by the Public Prosecutor's Office for allegedly falsely accusing others of committing a crime, under Articles 110 and 368 of the Italian Penal Code. The charges, which carry a maximum prison sentence of six years, come after a year-long investigation into EveryOne Group and its work ordered by the Deputy Prosecutor of Pesaro. An additional charge of libel was reportedly dropped by the prosecutor. Upon ending the investigations, the Public Prosecutor's Office may request the formal indictment.of Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau.

The charges, brought on the basis of a complaint by the Pesaro Municipality, relate to two letters sent by the EveryOne Group on 4 May 2009. The first letter was sent to local media and grassroots organisations. The second was addressed to the Juvenile Court of Marche Region in the city of Ancona, and included in copy the Pesaro Public Prosecutor's Office, the Ancona Juvenile Public Prosecutor's Office, the President of the Province of Pesaro and Urbino, the Presidency of the Marche Region and the Pesaro Municipal Councillor for Social Policies.

Both letters concerned the removal of a young Roma girl from the care of her parents by the city's social services on grounds of her parents' living conditions. The letters asked that the young girl be returned to her parents. The letters stated that neither International nor European law allowed for the removal of children from the care of their parents because of poverty and that therefore the Pesaro social services' decision was not justified. They also alleged that Pesaro social services had made several such unjustified decisions.

The EveryOne Group reported being subject to harassment and intimidation as a result of its work on behalf of the Roma community in Pesaro, including threats by local authorities.

I believe that the charges against Roberto Malini, Matteo Pergoraro and Dario Picciau are a direct result of their legitimate human rights activities, particularly with respect to their crucial work on behalf of the Roma community in Italy.

I urge the relevant authorities in Italy:

1. Not to proceed with the charges against Roberto Malini, Matteo Pergoraro and Dario Picciau as it is believed that the investigation has been opened solely on account of their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;

2. To take measures to ensure an end to the harassment against EveryOne Group;

3. To guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Italy are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Petition for the Freedom of Humen Rights Defenders: SIGN NOW

Take Action Now:

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