Translated by act for freedom now!
We are sharing this text written by Amma, imprisoned on 20th September 2019, along with Patrick and Uzzo, on charges of aggravated violence and resistance to public official, damage, spraying, for taking part in a demo on 9th February in Turin in solidarity with Asilo Occupato following its eviction and with those arrested during “Operation Scintilla”, and against the gentrification and militarization of the Aurora neighbourhood.
Amma wants to divulge and circulate among comrades face to face, via email and through publication in websites, more detailed information on what he’s going through in “Le Vallette” prison, the prison conditions and the screws’ violence during these weeks of incarceration.
Communication with Amma is difficult and the information we manage to get is incomplete. Many of his letters have been held, and so far the many telegrams we sent have never reached him. Outgoing letters have arrived in no particular order, over two weeks after being posted. Visits with his mother were granted three weeks after the arrest and we are still waiting for the response to a comrade’s request for visits. A request for house arrest has been rejected and we are waiting for the reasons to be made known.
The news we got only served to increase our rage. On 8th October there was a hearing at the court of review. While Amma was being taken to the court and during it there were heated exchanges and confrontations with the State’s servants, the investigating judge and the public prosecutor in particular. After he was taken back to “Le Vallette”, the loathsome guards laid into Amma. The result: a perforated eardrum due to the screw’s blows; beatings, provocation and threats.
We are not surprised that screws and cops also exercise their filthy power with beatings, intimidation, psychological threats. We also know that we came to know these facts this time because they happened to a comrade, but such dynamics are no exception at all. They are part of everyday life and functioning in various detention and repression structures where the State locks up those who hamper the exercise of power, those who oppose it, those who are not considered functional to the preservation of order.
These structures are being opposed by the people arrested during “Operation Scintilla”. It was for these comrades engaged in the struggle against prisons, CPRs and borders that the demo of 9th February in Turin expressed their anger and solidarity in the streets of the city.
The day of October 8th, 2019, began early: 7:20 am a guard opens the cell and informs me that I have to get ready to go to a court of review hearing concerning the custodial measure I’m serving in prison.
A few minutes later, carrying a cup of hot coffee and a newly lit cigarette, I go out of the cell where they keep me locked and along the corridor of the wing until I come to the “roundabout” where the corridors of the wing that form the third floor of block B conjoin.
At the roundabout is the table of the guards on duty, some are smoking, others just stare at me. The chief guard stands up and orders me to throw away my cigarette saying: “no smoking today!”, I take a few quick deep puffs and carry out the order with gritted teeth.
Soon after the guard in question comes close to me and orders me to throw away my coffee. I say that I haven’t even had a sip yet so he comes closer, takes the cup from my petrified hand (I can’t find the strength to oppose him) and arrogantly throws it away.
I’m ordered to go down to the ground floor and made to wait in a room (obviously locked) which slowly fills up with prisoners going to face the State machine called COURT.
They tell us not to take lighters or cigarettes; I have a lighter in my pocket and choose to take it back to the cell. When I’m at the roundabout the chief guard prevents me from taking it to the cell and forces me to throw that away too.
I go down again. At a certain point they handcuff us with handcuffs attached to a chord to pull us (a sort of leash), and tie the prisoners to one another’s handcuffs, the first held by a guard, and drag us up on to the bus where they put us in cells without removing the handcuffs.
Tied up this way, they let us out when we arrive and it’s the same on the way back.
2:50pm was the first time I was glad to be going back to the cell. I light a fag and they call me to the roundabout for my mail; they open it in front of me and when I see they are destroying the part with the sender’s address on it I ask them why. I’m told that the reason is that it’s they who command, they point to a small room and order me to go inside because they have to search me (as I’m back from the trial).
The place stinks but as things are getting ugly I go, they order me to leave only my underpants on.
After I take my clothes off they start slapping me with black gloves on, 3 of them, one after the other with a fourth watching the door, saying things like: “you’re just an inmate, you have no rights, here we are in charge, no questions asked, etc.”, at a certain point the fourth screw says to them make a move or they’ll see you and then they’ll start hollering.
They get out of the room and leave me there with my ears ringing, in my underpants with the metallic taste of blood in my mouth.
Another one arrives, looks at me, puts on the gloves and gives me a slap in the face from above (almost jumping as if he’s hitting back in volley ball) then orders me to get a move on and get dressed, but when I reach for my clothes he strikes me again saying I have to hurry up.
He is interrupted by a colleague of his telling him that time’s up because the other prisoners are coming back from the yard, I put my clothes on and go back to the roundabout to pick up my letters.
There the chief guard starts: “If thieves break into your house, who you call?”. Obviously, I don’t answer. He goes on for a while saying “come on say the little word, who you call, eh? Come on say it, say it, it costs you nothing” (all this 2 cm from my face) at a certain point he gets bored and says “because you don’t want to call us from now on you won’t call attendants or nurses either, not even to ask to have a shower” and goes on “you won’t go to the yard or the shower any more, you’ll wash in the sink etc. and now to the cell, move, big steps because you’re in jail and we give the orders here”.
Shaken I go to the cell and throw myself on the bed, exhausted.
Pus and blood come out of my ear, in the evening my cellmate calls the guards and has a painkiller brought to me, in the night I can’t sleep for the pain in the ear but at a certain point I drop off.
When I wake up there is a patch of blood on the bed sheet where my head had been, that had come out of my ear.
Again thanks to my cellmate who calls her, a nurse sees me and says that probably I’ve got injuries to my right eardrum and risk losing my hearing. Now as I write these lines it is the evening of the 9th, it’s 9pm and my ear is still bleeding.
Prison of Le Vallette
Turin, October 9th, 2019
P. S.: They justified the hitting because of graffiti “FUCK THE CARABINIERI” which I didn’t write (nor erase).
With head held high
A reminder that we have created a poste-pay account to collect all the money raised by benefits, initiatives and anyone who wants to contribute to supporting comrades in prison and to the expenses already to be met (lawyers, train journeys to Turin, court of review) and those that will be faced when the trial begins.
The details of the account are:
Alice Zaffaroni [account name]
Poste-pay evolution number 5333 1710 8726 9136
Bic code: PPAYITR1XXX
For communications and updates come to Milan or write to tuttxliberx at protonmail.com