Christmas 2013: 3rd March for Amnesty, Justice and Freedom, from St. Peter’s Square to Palazzo Chigi

25 Dec, 2013 | Press Releases

Rome, Italy, 25 December 2013

The 3rd March for Amnesty, Justice and Freedom will start at 10am on 25 December, from St. Peter’s Square (participants will meet at 9.30 in Piazza Pia, at the beginning of Via della Conciliazione) and will end in front of Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Italian Government, in Piazza Colonna. The March will make short stops at the Regina Coeli prison, the Ministry of Justice (Via Arenula), the Senate (Corso Rinascimento) and the Chamber of Deputies (Piazza Montecitorio). A closing rally will be held in Piazza San Silvestro, near Piazza Colonna.

Following President Napolitano’s formal message to both Houses of Parliament and the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court, there are no more alibis for not doing what has to be done to end the inhuman and degrading conditions of Italian prisons and the degradation of the Italian justice system, and end the decades-long persisting breach of the law caused by the chronic backlog and unreasonable trial length..

On October 8 in his message to Parliament, President Napolitano, recalling several legislative and administrative measures to be undertaken simultaneously, wrote: “All the measures mentioned thus far – certainly reasonable and which I hope will be swiftly elaborated – are however inadequate, as their effects will be felt in the long run and will not allow us to meet the ECHR’s firm deadline. It is therefore necessary to intervene swiftly (the deadline of the “Torreggiani judgement” is set on 28 May 2014) by resorting to “extraordinary measures”.”

The Constitutional Court ruling 279/2013 of 22 November 2013, referring to the Torreggiani judgement and the deadline of 28 May 2014 of the ECHR, reads: “We need to keep in mind that an holistic approach to reform the penal, trial and prison systems will require time but since the current situation is untenable there must be a  speedy adoption of reforms specifically crafted to end it”.

In other words, TIME IS UP. Granting AMNESTY and PARDON is the only way to bring an end to state torture in our prisons and to restore justice, which is now denied because of its sluggishness.

In these hours an Organising Committee for the March has been formed by influential Italian personalities to meet Marco Pannella’s proposal to march from the Vatican to the seat of the Italian Government on Christmas day.

Why start from St. Peter’s Square, which is on the other side of the Tiber? “God too is an inmate. He is not out of the cell”, Pope Francis said in a recent meeting with prison chaplains. He not only pronounced those words, he also took two concrete measures in the Vatican’s Penal Code: he abolished the LIFE SENTENCE introduced the crime of torture, which Italy has not yet done despite having signed the UN Convention Against Torture over twenty years ago.

The March will end in front of Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Government, because the Letta Government is the main interlocutor of the initiative. We want the Government to play a major role and to solicit Parliament not to disregard the message by President Napolitano. It must be noted that in June the Minister of Justice, Ms Cancellieri, said: “an act of amnesty is a moral imperative. We must respect the Constitution”.

The Organising Committee for the 3rd Xmas March for Amnesty, Justice and Freedom:
Don Antonio Mazzi founder of “Exodus” community, Marco Pannella former MEP and MP, Emma Bonino Foreign Minister of Italy, Don Ettore Cannavera, President of prison chaplains from Sardinia, Eugenio Sarno Secretary of penitentiary Uil; Luigi Manconi Senator and Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Patrizio Gonnella President Association “Antigone”; Salvo Fleres former guarantor of the rights of inmates for Sicily region, Angiolo Marroni guarantor of the rights of inmates for the Regione Lazio, Stefano Anastasia Honorary President of Association “Antigone”, Sandro Gozi MP and Chairman of the Italian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE, Valerio Spigarelli, Chairman Italian Criminal Chambers, Luigi Amicone editor of “Tempi”, Enrico Sbriglia Regional director of Piedmont Penitentiary Administration Marco Arcangeli Chairman of Penal Chamber of Rieti, Rosario Tortorella National Secretary of Penitentiary Directors’ Union; Nitto Palma Senator, Chairman of the Justice Commite of the Senate, former Minister of Justice, Franco Marini Senator, Mario Marazziti MP, spokesperson of “Sant’Egidio” community, Don Vincenzo Russo head of “Casa Caciolle” community, Leo Beneduci Secretary Penitentiary Police Autonomous Organization, Antonio Savino Secretary of Penitentiary Police Workers Autonomous Union, Don Massimiliano Sira chaplain at Buoncammino (Cagliari) prison, Suor Fabiola Catalano, volunteer at Velletri (Rome) prison, Don Gaetano Galia chaplain at Sassari prison; Don Mario Cadeddu chaplain at Macomer (Nuoro) prison, Don Nicolò Porcu, chaplain at Mamone (Nuoro) prison, Don Luigi Ciotti founder of “Gruppo Abele”, Margherita Michelini director of “Mario Gozzini” prison in Florence, Ottavio Casarano director of Trieste prison, Giancarlo Galan MP, Chairmain Committee for Culture, Science and Education, former Culture Minister, Don Luigi Gatti chaplain at Lodi prison, Felice Casson Senator, Deputy Chairman of the II Permanent Justice Committee.

Organizations promoting the 3rd Xmas March for Amnesty, Justice and Freedom:
Radical Party, Radicali Italiani, Union of Italian Penal Chambers, Ristretti Orizzonti, Hands Off Cain, Union of Penitentiary Directors, No Peace Without Justice, Tempi, Detenuto Ignoto, Associazione Luca Coscioni, Radio Radicale, Esperanto Radikala Asocio; Cooperativa PID – Roma (Pronto Intervento Disagio); Cooperativa Sociale Arte Integrale – Roma; Radicali per Sant’Ambrogio; @.r.a. Associazione Radicale Antiproibizionisti, Comunità di Sant’Egidio, Sesta Opera San Fedele ONLUS

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