739 demands for legal review of procedures, signed by as many lifers, were presented in Brussels on the 4th of November. The 'Never Say Never' campaign for the abolition of the life penalty begins!
Florence, the 6th of November 2008
On the morning of the 4th of November 2008 a delegation of the ‘Liberarsi’ association symbolically presented various European Parliamentarians in Brussels with a copy of the 739 demands for review of procedures, as undersigned by the corresponding number of life prisoners now detained in over forty prisons across , who are asking for life detention to be abolished.
The demands are addressed to the European Court in Strasburg, where they shall be deposed this week.
The delegation was granted a meeting with the hon. Giusto Catania (SE-GUE) and was later received, amongst others, in the offices of: Marco Cappato, Marco Pannella, Vittorio Prodi, Gerard Duprez, Martine Roure, Sophie In't'Veld and Katelijne Buitenweg.
On the 5th of November a letter signed by life detention prisoners Carmelo Musumeci, Giovanni Spada and Sebastiano Milazzo was also presented to Jacques Barrot, who directs the commission dealing with ‘Justice, Safeness and Freedom’ also body of the European Parliament.
On initiative of the hon. Giusto Catania, the appropriate offices of the European parliament will also be conducting a research into life detention as applied in countries throughout the union, while ‘Liberarsi’ will work on the preparation of a detailed report containing information and data on detention conditions and other aspects of life in prison, as described by the more than 1300 prisoners themselves, many of whom are detained in high security sections.
With the symbolical presentation of the requests for legal review of procedures in Brussels, the ‘Never Say Never’ campaign for abolition of life detention officially opens.
Starting from the first of December and on to the end of March 2009, hundreds of life detention prisoners in all the Italian regions will go on hunger strike for a week in every region.
With them and in solidarity with their cause, also many ex-offenders, prisoners and family members as well as friends and voluntary helpers belonging to various organisations will take part in the hunger strike, while public discussions, concerts and various other initiatives will also take place so as to awake public opinion to the problems related to life detention as well as attracting the interest of the political class.
But the ‘Never Say Never’ campaign also has a truly European opening as it has already received support from organizations and groups from various other countries such as , the , and .
On the 4th of November ’08, the Norwegian ‘KROM’, the most important organisation dealing with problems related to the application of justice in that area of Europe, told press officials that it expresses its solidarity with the Italian lifers and invited Italian authorities to ‘take the necessary measures to abolish life detention’.
For further information on the ‘Never Say Never’ campaign contact:
via Tavanti, 20 - 50134 Florence Italy
Web site: www.informacarcere.it/campagna_ergastolo.php
The Florentine charity Liberarsi has long been involved in work with other non-profit making organisations in relation to the application of life sentences in Italy. It is, in fact, actively engaged in trying to promote the abolishment of life detention and has become a reference institution in this field also by means of the creation of a permanent office working on the significant related topics.
Through the ‘Never Say Never’ campaign –which the charity not only supported but helped achieve-, about 300 Italian life detention prisoners came into action at the end of May 2007 by writing a letter to the president of the Italian republic where they expressed their will not to die a little by little but, if necessary, to die once and for all. In other words, they asked the president to change their life sentences into death sentences so as to provoke at least thought on what it means to be condemned for a whole lifetime.
On the first of December 2007 nearly 800 life detention prisoners and about 13.000 others –among which other prisoners, relatives, friends, people informed on the facts and voluntary workers belonging to various charities and organisations- began a hunger strike demanding that discussion on the topic of abolishment of the life sentence be brought on in parliament and that the proposal brought forward in this respect by Maria Luisa Boccia should also be discussed.
Now, the organisation is engaged in promoting the following:
• publication of a book called ‘Never Say Never. The Awakening Of The Damned’. It is the a story of how life detention prisoners came to think it was necessary to go on hunger strike in 2007 and what happened during the strike itself. The book is completed by many poems, letters and thoughts written by the prisoners themselves during that period, referring obviously to life detention;
• presenting the European Court on Human Rights in Strasburg with the formal requests signed by many Italian life detention prisoners demanding for it to pronounce itself against life detention as it is applied in Italy;
• on the first of December 2008, life detention prisoners and all that share their conviction that it is wrong to keep someone in prison for life, will go on hunger strike once more. This time though, the strike will regard a different prison every week and will concern the entire nation.
A new organisation, which will be called ‘Liberarsi’ (to become free) will soon come into being. It’s goal will be involvement in fighting life detention as well as contrasting penitentiary differentiation both on a local, national and international scale.
Associazione Liberarsi c/o Associazione Liberarsi
Casella postale 30 - 50012 Grassina – FIRENZE (Italia)
e-mail: assliberarsi at tiscali.it