Crime and Court news / History of Italy

Italian Supreme Court compares Police to Gestapo

In a decision made known yesterday, the Italian Supreme Court upheld the jail term of Mr Gilberto Caldarozzi, former chief of the Central Operations Service of the State Police. The former official will spend eight months under house arrest in connection with the Diaz School case.

The Diaz School was used by the Italian Police during the 2001 G8 held in Genoa to detain protesters and – as it was later discovered – systematically and brutally beat them.

In its decision the Supreme Court went as far as to say that the Italian Police acted like “in the worst undemocratic regimes”.

However, the polls show that the Italian public trusts its law enforcement agencies, despite their history which couldn’t help but being conditioned by the troubled Italian politics.

Under the fascism regime, law enforcement agencies were indeed used to suppress political opposition. However, this was the task of the secret police, called OVRA, rather than of the ordinary law enforcement bodies. Moreover, the Royal Military Police was more faithful to the Crown than to the Government and the Fascist Party. Mussolini himself, after his dismissal by the King, was promptly arrested by the RMP.

During the Cold War, the law enforcement agencies were often accused to suppress communism. Particularly infamous was the case of Mr Giuseppe Pinelli, an anarchist who died in unclear circumstances while been interrogated in connection with a terrorist attack in 1969.

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