Translated by act for freedom now
On March 26 the preliminary hearing of the trial against Gianluca and Adriano was held at the court in Rome. The two comrades are accused of ‘conspiracy with purposes of terrorism and subversion of the democratic order’, and they are also charged with arson, aggravated theft, defacement and damage to property of others. This refers to thirteen actions carried out in the Castelli Romani area against banks, a fur coats shop, premises of ENI and ENEL and against the waste dump in Albano.
The trial at the court of the assizes will start on 26th May. In the indictment, judge for preliminary investigation D’alessandro made the grave decision of ordering the comrades be present at the trial via video conference. This decision is allegedly due to a document issued by the Director General of Prison Service, which establishes the recourse to this measure as a means of restraint of the ‘more dangerous’ prisoners, following the escape of Domenico Cutrì, during a judicial transfer. From now on this measure could be applied to all prisoners detained in high surveillance units.
The recourse to video conferences is part of a prison policy established by the EU and based on a model of differentiation and therefore isolation. It consists in separating the most dangerous individuals from the rest of the prison population, on the one hand in order to manage the growing number of inmates with lower risk and at a lower cost, and on the other hand as an attempt at annihilating all the enemies of the State insusceptible of repentance. The isolation they are trying to impose in an increasingly stringent way can take the form of torture causing serious physical and psychological damage on those who are inflicted it.
A set of measures recently adopted in high surveillance (AS2) units (destined to revolutionary comrades) are meant to increase the level of isolation: the closing of gates that separate AS2 units from the other units, restriction on visits, attempts at imposing individual isolation, prohibition of meeting between prisoners in the same unit. The trial in video conference adds to all this, and it is an instrument that strikes the individuals in different ways.
From a human point of view, the fact of preventing an individual from being physically present at the trial means inflicting further violence on him/her, as the prisoner is denied the possibility of getting out of the limited horizon of the total institution – even if for a short time – and enjoying the loving and solidarity presence of comrades, friends and family. On a judicial point of view, the video conference is part of a set of measures aiming at fabricating the image of the enemy (mafioso or terrorist), of which any trace of humanity and reason must be erased. This suggests a condition of guilt a priori, linked more to what an individual is considered to be than to the actual actions he/she made. The defendant is depicted as a monster to be kept at bay as he/she is too dangerous to be present in a courtroom.
As a consequence, a jury will be much more light-hearted in condemning an image on a screen, just like a TV film they watch in the evening, rather than a human being in flesh and bones, a human fellow of theirs. In the same way, a soldier driving a drone kills in a more light-hearted way than one who shoots at close range. On their part, defendants will be limited in the possibility of making their points before a court that will be able to arbitrary deny them the chance to speak at any time. Defendants will be excluded by pressing a button any time they say something the judiciary doesn’t like.
With the recent introduction of article 270 sexies, power has demonstrated to hold a juridical instrument potentially apt to strike all forms of real social conflict with very heavy sentences. Once it is established that anyone who effectively opposes the system is a terrorist, it becomes necessary to fabricate the image of the terrorist with a suitable scenic design. From this point of view, the video conference is yet another instrument of psychological war that adds to bunker courtrooms, special prisons and the mystifying language used to describe actions of struggle, thus evoking a particular collective imagination.
While the social causes of repression are becoming increasingly obvious, and we are more and more witnessing judicial constructions presenting a shameless character of political reprisal, repressors are implementing yet another attempt at silence anyone who opposes a failed system. They want to suffocate the brave voices of rebels; they want to bury the reasons of those who struggle in the silence of concrete walls. But the powerful will hear these voices, will hear them closer and closer to their ears that don’t tolerate nuisances. They will hear them in the courts they would like to be aseptic, in the piazzas they would like to be resigned, in the nights when they would like to sleep soundly.
Active solidarity with Gianluca and Adriano
Solidarity with the imprisoned comrades
Solidarity with all prisoners