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Italian police on trial for G8 prisoner abuse

Italian police on trial for G8 prisoner abuse
(Filed: 12/10/2005)

Forty-five police, prison guards and medical staff have been put on
trial in Italy, accused of beating and abusing protestors detained
at the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001.

It is one of two high-profile cases into alleged police brutality
taking place this week, reviving bitter memories of the Group of
Eight summit that saw fierce clashes with anti-globalisation protesters.

Italian prosecutors say some 150 activists were kicked, punched, hit
in the groin and dragged around by their hair at the Bolzaneto
police garrison, after being detained during the summit.

Some were forced to put their heads in toilets and bark like dogs,
according to a prosecutors' report released in March.

During the clashes one protester, Carlo Giuliani, was shot dead as
he tried to throw a fire extinguisher through the window of a
cornered police jeep.

The 45, few of whom were present in the courtroom, deny the
accusations. The proceedings were adjourned until November.

On Friday, another 28 police officers will go on trial over a raid
on the Armando Diaz school, which served as a headquarters for
demonstrators. The clashes left bloodstains on the stairwells and walls.

Supporters of the protesters are concerned that none of the
offending officers would ever actually go to jail because of Italy's
slow trial process, which allows multiple appeals but also sets
time-limits on how long cases can run.

Last year, 26 activists were charged with looting, damaging
property, resisting arrest, carrying explosive materials and robbery.