report on the arrests of the Perugia 5
Very early on Friday morning, April 1st, three comrades of the Antiimperialist Camp were arrested on orders from the Magistracy of Perugia: the international spokesman, Moreno Pasquinelli, Alessia Monteverdi and Maria Grazia Ardizzone.
During the same operation, two members of the DHKC, Avni Er and Zeynep Kilic, were arrested.
The arrests were ordered on the basis of Art. 270 bis (being party to an international terrorist association). The militants of the Camp are accused of helping two Turks in their needs as political exiles.
The Turkish comrades appear to be accused of having claimed responsibility for bombings in Turkey, from Italy.
The lawyers think the evidence gathered by the magistrates is entirely insufficient to motivate the arrests. It is however clear that this is a political operation which was decided on high levels; the Magistracy of Perugia is merely a pawn in the game.
One must bear in mind that the AC has been the focus, especially during the last weeks, of a violent press campaign aimed at criminalizing it. An outstanding role in this campaign was played by Magdi Allam, deputy director of Italy`s main daily, Corriere della Sera.
In order to protest against this unprecedented campaign, on March 31, a delegation of the AC symbolically occupied the Roman offices of Corriere della Sera for three hours.
Then there is the general atmosphere in Italy today. The government has difficulty staying in power, and it is trying to gain consensus on the issue of "security". Yesterday, over 160 immigrants (mostly from Morocco) were hauled in; some were kept in custody and others expelled.
After the Perugia arrests, many messages of solidarity came, both from individuals and political organizations, trade unions, youth centres, etc.
The Italian mass media paid great attention to the arrests. It was the first item at the 8 p.m. on TG1, the newscast with the peak audience. It was the first news in many radio newscasts, and received ample attention in the dailies of April 1.
Today, many newspapers are still talking about it. Among these, an editorial of the pro-government daily "Il Giornale" under the title, "The Terror International"; in this international, the centre role is assigned to the Camp.
Yesterday afternoon, April 2, a demonstration was held in Perugia against repression and calling for the release of the arrested comrades.
The arrested comrades have been forbidden to speak with their lawyers for five days, a procedure which is allowed in so-called "exceptional" cases.
In order to protest against this breach of the rights of the defence, during the questioning yesterday morning, the comrades made use of their right not to answer.
During the questioning, Moreno Pasquinelli made a statement to the magistrate, denouncing the monstruous nature of the operation, and announcing that he was starting a hunger strike immediately, on April 1.
In two press conferences, held in Perugia and Rome, the AC announced that it considered the Perugia operation not to be a judicial enquiry, but a political operation which is a reprisal for the support provided to the Iraqi Resistance.
Evidence of this is the fact that the website Iraqlibero has been sequestered, together with the website of D17.
Today, an appeal will be spread for the release of the arrested comrades.
New mobilizations will be scheduled in the coming days.
Tomorrow, the meeting of the Iraqlibero Committees will be held, as scheduled. The first topic on the agenda will be the initiatives to be taken for the release of the comrades.
April 3, 2004