Legal aid. Ossigeno defend in appeal process 2 reporters assaulted by far-right activists

Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti were attacked on the 7th January 2019. Giuliano Castellino and Vincenzo Nardulli convicted in the primary jurisdiction trial court for the crime of robbery

OSSIGENO November 18th 2021 – The Free Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno per l’informazione (read more here), in collaboration with Media Defence, will assist, also during their appeal, the reporters Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti, who have joined a civil suit against Giuliano Castellino and Vincenzo Nardulli, convicted in the original trial court for the crimes of robbery and injury to them, perpetrated on January 7th 2019 at the Verano Cemetery in Rome.

The lawyer Andrea di Pietro will take up the defence, as in the first degree judgment.

IN COURT – On the 6th July 2020, the Court of Rome sentenced Giuliano Castellino and Vincenzo Nardulli to 5 years and 6 months of imprisonment (read here) and to pay compensation for damages in favour of the civil parties. The momentary stealing of their video equipment and what had been filmed was punished as a case of robbery. Vincenzo Nardulli is also accused, in a separate trial, of the offence of slander that he allegedly committed against the two reporters of L’Espresso, unjustly accusing them of having slandered him on the occasion of the complaint for the Verano incident. Also in this trial Marconi and Marchetti are defended by the lawyers of Ossigeno per l’Informazione.

CIVIL PARTY – The Ossigeno Observatory became a party to a civil action lawsuit in the robbery trial in the primary court as the Verano aggression violated the right to freely exercise the right to information and expression that this non-profit association, Ossigeno per l’Informazione, by statute, is committed to defending everywhere, especially in the face of violent actions that are increasingly carried out with the sole purpose of limiting or preventing the activity of journalism.

THE FACTS – On January 7th, 2019 Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti went to Verano, the monumental cemetery of Rome, on behalf of the weekly L’Espresso, to document with photos and videos the commemoration   of the forty-first anniversary of the event in via Acca Larentia where in 1978 three members of the Italian Social Movement, an Italian far-right party, were murdered while leaving local party headquarters.

FEDERICO MARCONI told Ossigeno: “It is not easy to be a freelance journalist in our country, especially when one is the victim of an attack in the course of one’s work. Thanks to Ossigeno per l’Informazione, I have never felt alone during a long and difficult matter. The support of the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro, with his advice and his expertise, allowed me to face the first instance trial with serenity and it fills me with joy to know that he will continue to be alongside Paolo and me also for the appeal”.

PAOLO MARCHETTI commented: “Leading a fight for a just cause is always a source of pride and always goes beyond a simple moral choice, it is an essential condition, but knowing that we are not alone in this position   is a privilege that cannot be taken for granted. It is a gift that you receive from an outstretched hand with a smile which I clutched at once and which continues to be there to support not only my position but that of all of us citizens. Thanks to Ossigeno for its determination and enormous competence”.

Legal voids and proposals from the Legal Aid Office

In six years, the Ossigeno per l’informazione Free Legal Aid Office has helped about 60 Italian journalists defend themselves in court (read here) thanks to the support of Media Defence, a non-profit association based in London.

The monitoring activity carried out by Ossigeno includes the regular analysis of the adequacy of current legislation in order to prevent impunity for crimes against journalists, which is very prevalent (over 90%).

This year, together with the Rome Press Association, Ossigeno has formulated and proposed a new law incriminating anyone deliberately hindering journalism activity, a new law to be included in the Criminal Code. If approved by the Italian Parliament, it would constitute a valid deterrent against numerous actions that are at present either not prosecutable or punished without due severity. The new law would trigger very severe and effective penalties as punishment for violent acts and abuses committed against journalists. The proposition was jointly supported by the National Council of the Order of Journalists, on the proposal of its own President, Carlo Verna. But it is not yet the subject of parliamentary attention.

This appeal trial, re-visiting the serious events of the 7th January 2019, will provide the opportunity to remind the Italian parliament and the Italian government yet again that a legislative void still prevents the prosecution of many serious violations of the freedom of the press and of the right to be informed.

ASP

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