Ossigeno together with Media Defence will form for free the civil part in the trial against Rossella Puccio’s attackers – A proposal from her – The barrister Andrea Di Pietro: this violence goes beyond the warning limits
OSSIGENO November 17th 2021 – The Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno per l’Informazione (read) has accepted the request for free legal aid from Rossella Puccio, the journalist attacked in Palermo, on the beach of Punta Barcarello, near Mondello, on the 15th August 2020, and will deal with the civil action in the criminal trial that will open against her attackers in January 2022 at the Court of Palermo.
Ten people are accused of that violent assault of August 2020, against the freelance journalist, a friend who accompanied her and tried to defend her, and several police officers who intervened to save her from the fury of the attackers. The defendants are accused, in various capacities, of aggravated personal injury, violence and threats. For that episode, caution orders were issued against three individuals . The defendants – aged between 17 and 58 years – are accused of having acted with similar violence against the police officers who intervened in defence of the journalist. That day the journalist was hit with kicks, punches, head-butts, and bites, requiring 15 days to recover and so she decided to start a civil action and asked Ossigeno per l ‘Information to assist her.
The Free Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno per l ‘Information (read more here) in collaboration with Media Defence, has accepted the request, for three reasons: the particular seriousness of the violence suffered by this journalist, her isolation in the face of such savage violence, and the hope that the conduct of this trial will demonstrate with firm evidence resulting from the investigations, the extent to which news reporting in some parts of democratic Italy has become risky, unpopular, hated, and confronted with more grim violence.
Rossella Puccio was videoing an intervention by police on the public beach of Barcarello to remove numerous persons who, in violation of the anti-Covid limits on public gatherings, had set up a camp to celebrate, outdoors, the mid-August holiday, Ferragosto, as is the tradition of some Palermo families.
“I had to deal with this incident alone. Expressions of solidarity in these cases are useful, but they are not enough. Ossigeno gave me a concrete hand with legal aid. We are journalists, we deal with words and our actions shouldn’t undermine them”, Rossella Puccio told Ossigeno.
THE BARRISTER Andrea Di Pietro, coordinator of the Observatory’s Legal Aid Office, who will represent Rossella Puccio in court, states: “Ossigeno will guarantee Rossella Puccio, as a victim of aggression during the exercise of the profession of journalism, the right to appear as a civil party in court and to ask the Court of Palermo, in addition to the sentence for the crimes committed, also a sentencing of her attackers for compensation for the moral and material damage suffered. The violence that is often triggered against journalists for trivial matters or simply for intolerance towards the profession has now exceeded the alert level “.
THE PROPOSAL – “I suffered strong post-traumatic stress after that experience – says the journalist – and for this I am taking the opportunity to launch a proposal for further concrete help for journalists who suffer threats: the establishment of a psychological support desk. The Order of Journalist could manage it – she says – The trend of threats is increasing; most reporters work as freelancers and do not have the resources to afford such help, which is, however, important for overcoming fear ”.
THE FACTS – On August 15th 2020, on the beach of Punta Barcarello, near Palermo, Rossella Puccio was violently attacked in the presence of numerous people who witnessed the scene without intervening.
“I still remember that, while I was being hit, I asked a gentleman to help me who responded with a ‘No’ – the journalist tells Ossigeno – Even today, two years later, I still remember very strong but vague images “.
It is not easy for her to remember those moments: kicks, punches, head-butts, marks on the body compatible with bites. Among her attackers there were women: “I have a vivid image of a woman with her baby in her arms who hit me”.
Rossella Puccio was in Sferracavallo with a friend. She had seen several police cars in convoy moving in the direction of Punta Barcarello. She had video equipment with her and had decided to follow the police vehicles, realizing that they were intending to clear the beach from the tents set up illegally for the evening August 15th.
On arrival there, she started filming. A lady had blocked her and asked her not to film the children. A few minutes later, a group of violent men had lashed out at her. “It was certainly not the first attack – said Puccio – but it was particular both for the violence with which they acted, and because it was completely without motive”. Only the arrival of the police freed, from the grip of the attackers, the reporter and her friend, who in the meantime in trying to defend her, had been attacked in turn. The journalist and her friend were treated in the emergency room of the Cervello hospital in Palermo. On the 16th August Puccio filed an official complaint with the police.
Palermo. Three precautionary measures for the attack on Barcarello – 28th September 2020 : A caution order has been issued to two men and a woman from Palermo – The reconstruction of the reporter attacked by illegal campers.