Monday, December 7, 2009

Racial prejudice in the sentences of Naples Juvenile Court against Angelica

Saturday, December 5, 2009, by Alfred Breitman
Racial prejudice in the sentences of Naples Juvenile Court against Angelica, the scapegoat for the hatred towards the Roma people

Naples, December 4th, 2009. News has just reached us of the measure taken by the Juvenile Court of Naples which has denied the concession of any alternative to prison for Angelica V, a young Roma teenager. Angelica was sentenced without proof, merely on prejudice, both in the judgment of first instance, and at the appeal, for the attempted kidnapping of a baby in Ponticelli, a charge brought by the mother in the summer of 2008.

According to the judges, Angelica must remain in jail, and may not be granted house arrest because she is “fully integrated into the typical pattern of behaviour of the Roma culture”. A motivation based solely on racial prejudice, as seen in the rest of the proceedings against the young Roma girl. In the space of just a few days this “decision” has aroused a great deal of concern and has become the subject of two parliamentary questions: that of Rita Bernardini MP and the Senator Annamaria Carloni.

In the summer of 2007 at Montalto di Castro (Viterbo) a young girl of 15 (the same age as Angelica when she was rescued from the lynch mob in Ponticelli) was kidnapped and raped for hours by eight “respectable Italian boys”, all of whom confessed to the crime, and all of them “fully integrated into that typical pattern of behaviour that is slowly becoming our own culture”.

This October, the Rome Juvenile Court, agreed to the proposal put forward by the social workers to suspend the trail and allow the eight rapists to undergo “a test period” for 24 months - their case to be reviewed on March 27th 2012. Over the next two years the members of this gang will be entrusted to the Court social services, which, in collaboration with the services of Montalto di Castro, will include them in a programme of observation, support and control. If the “test period” achieves its aim, the Juvenile Court may then consider the crime extinguished.

It is essential that a great number of people in authority speak out against the motivations given by the Naples Juvenile Court in the Angelica case. Motivations which come on top of a sentence which was just as shocking seeing it was based on testimony full of contradictions and no evidence - if not the medieval prejudice (which over the last few years has raised its ugly head again in Italy) according to which, “gypsies steal children”.

No comments: