Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018
ROME

Dell'Utri on hunger strike after release bid turned down (2)

English
© ANSA

Rome, December 7 - A Rome detention review court on
Thursday rejected a plea by Marcello Dell'Utri, an ailing former
aide of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi serving seven years for
mafia links, to be released from jail on health grounds -
prompting the former Senator to announce a hunger strike.
Dell'Utri, 76, said he would refuse all food as well as
medical treatment.
"Having noted the court decision to let me die in jail I have
decided to do it myself by going on a hunger and treatment
strike," Dell'Utri said through his lawyers.
Niccolò Ghedini, longtime lawyer of Dell'Utri and Berlusconi,
said "I have always been convinced that Marcello Dell'Utri is
detained after an unjust sentence.
"According to article 27 of the Constitution penalties cannot
consist in treatment contrary to the sense of humanity and must
tend towards the re-education of the condemned man".
Dell'Utri, who is suffering heart problems as well as cancer,
is being held in Rome's Rebibbia Prison.
Filing the plea, Dell'Utri told his lawyers that he is at the
end of his tether.
"I can't go on, I feel worn-out and tired," Dell'Utri told
them a few days ago, the lawyers told the hearing.
But Rome Prosecutor-General Pietro Giordano told the court he
opposed the ex-Senator's plea, saying that Dell'Utri's condition
was compatible with prison detention.
Giordano's argument ran counter to that of experts appointed
by his office, who had said Dell'Utri should be released from
jail.
Dell'Utri's lawyers said a rejection of his plea to be
released could have "serious psychological repercussions" on
their client, who was already "exhausted" by his prison
experience.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has asked the
Italian government to assess whether keeping Dell'Utri in jail
is a violation of his rights not to be subjected to inhuman or
degrading treatment.
The request was made during the conveying to Rome of
documents related to an appeal filed in Strasbourg on December
20, 2014, by Dell'Utri.
Dell'Utri, a former right-hand man of Berlusconi's, is not
entitled to early release because of the gravity of the
mafia-related crimes he was convicted of, Italy's highest court
ruled in October.
External collaboration in mafia association is a crime
excluded from those where early release can be granted, the
court said. Dell'Utri is serving seven years for colluding with
the mafia in Palermo.
The 76-year-old former close aide to three-time ex-premier
and media mogul Berlusconi and co-founder of Berlusconi's Forza
Italia party was convicted in 2014 of acting as an ambassador
between the centre-right group and the Cosa Nostra Mafia in his
native Sicily.
He was extradited from Beirut to serve his sentence.
Dell'Utri is also the former head of the media magnate's
advertising arm and is credited with creating the media mogul's
Forza Italia party in 1993, six months before it swept to
victory in general elections.
In addressing the Strasbourg court, Dell'Utri said he had
been convicted on the basis of a law that came into force after
he committed the crimes he was convicted of.
He added that the charges against him were vague and
imprecise.

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