Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Court says man died in police custody from malnutrition


(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, September 3 - Court documents released on
Tuesday explaining the conviction of five doctors and a hospital
staff member for the death of a 31-year old man in police
custody in 2009 said that he died of from malnutrition.
Rome judges wrote in a justification for the June
manslaughter convictions of the six that Stefano Cucchi, a
surveyor's clerk, was killed by untreated "inanition syndrome"
or malnutrition.
Cucchi died while in police custody in Rome's Pertini
prison hospital on October 22, 2009, one week after being
arrested on a drug charge.
Hospital director Aldo Fierro was sentenced to two years,
physicians Stefania Cordi, Flaminia Bruno, Luigi De Marchis and
Silvia Di Carlo one year and four months, and staff member
Rosita Caponetti eight months.
The guilty are on parole rather than serving prison time.
The Rome judges wrote that they agreed with assessments
made by forensic experts - that Cucchi's condition was not
properly treated by hospital staff and that his death was caused
by a "severe shortage of food and liquids".
"There is only one explanation - the most glaring and
singular element in the case is the striking weight loss that
Stefano Cucchi encountered during his hospitalization," the
document said.
Treatment by the doctors and staff was marked by "neglect
and carelessness," the court said.
Though the five medical staff and the hospital employee
were convicted, three police guards and three nurses who were
also on trial were acquitted in June sparking anger and outrage
from Cucchi's friends and family who screamed "killers" as the
sentence was read out in court.
"My brother is dead from injustice. The doctors have to
examine their consciences, my brother would not have died
without that beating," Cucchi's sister Illaria said after the
Family members met with the supreme Cassation Court's
Attorney General in July to ask for the court to re-examine the
magistrate's acquittal ruling.
"We believe that the independence and autonomy of the
judiciary are sacred values to our Constitution, but should
never be used as a filter for abuse and random truths. Our legal
proceedings are watched by all. Everyone must be equal before
the law. Everyone should be called on to assume their
responsibilities. Even magistrates," Illaria said.
Prosecutors said at the June hearing that medical staff
were indifferent to the young man, a drug addict with medical
problems who had been described as grumpy and rude.
Cucchi's lack of cooperation, however, was not sufficient
reason for the medical staff to deny "a correct diagnosis and
treatment of the serious case in a timely manner," the court
document said.
An experts' report also noted that shoddy records were
kept at the Pertini prison clinic where Cucchi died, with few
notes on the victim's weight, body temperature, or heart rate
while he was a patient.
An autopsy shortly after Cucchi's death found he was
severely dehydrated and also had two broken vertebrae and
internal organ damage.

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