On October 15th, 2009 Mr. Stefano Cucchi, a young Italian man, was arrested in Rome for the possession of a small quantity of hashish and cocaine. The day after, a judge ordered that he stayed in jail pending the trail, despite the fact that Mr. Cucchi during the hearing showed several physical impairment and some hematomas.
While in jail, Mr. Cucchi’s conditions worsened, and he was transferred to the inmate section first of the ‘Fatebenefratelli’ Hospital and then of the ‘Sandro Pertini’ Hospital, where he died on October 22nd.
Some witnessed claimed that Mr. Cucchi had been beaten by the custody officers while in jail.
After an investigation, 13 people were indicted for various offences. The people are custody officers, medics and medical attendants.
The trial is currently underway in the III Court of Assizes of Rome. The experts named by the Court have found that Mr. Cucchi died of starvation combined with other organic causes.
While this is a damning conclusion for the Italian prison system, Mr. Cucchi’s family still thinks that the Court proceedings are trying to conceal the beatings by the custody officers.
Italian prisons are suffering of chronic overcrowding, lack of funds and bad life conditions. Suicides of inmates are common. Despite the announcements, no Italian Government was able to do anything beside declaring periodic amnesties.