The judgment of the Court. The reporters, attacked on January 2019, were defended by Ossigeno’s Free Legal Aid Office, through the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro
The Rome Court sentenced Giuliano Castellino, leader of Forza Nuova, and Vincenzo Nardulli of Avanguardia Nazionale to five years and six months imprisonment, recognizing them guilty of the robbery of journalist Federico Marconi and photographer Paolo Marchetti who were attacked in Rome on the 7th January 2019, at the Verano Cemetery where they were sent by the weekly L’Espresso, to document a rally of far-right militants commemorating the deaths of three members of the Youth Front of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), an Italian far right party.
The sentence, issued on July 6th 2020, also imposed a lifetime ban on the two condemned on holding public office. Giuliano Castellino will have to serve his sentence in prison and together with Nardulli, he will have to pay the court costs and compensate those attacked and the civil parties.
Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti were assisted in court by Ossigeno’s Legal Aid Office, through the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro. Ossigeno per l’informazione (Oxygen for information) also constituted a civil party to protect the freedom of information, seriously impaired by this incident.
THE CHIEF EDITOR OF L’ESPRESSO – Marco Damilano recalled that the two journalists were attacked while doing their job and added: “To use the words contained in the indictment, there was the attempt to prevent a public demonstration taking place in a public space being documented by the media. In a season of threats and repeated attacks against the press, even a group of self-declared neo-Fascists felt protected in their actions by an attitude of impunity and perhaps even some cover from the political forces who were at the time in charge of the interior ministry.
Today (i.e., of the sentence, ed.) this expectation of impunity has been denied and the attackers have been convicted. It is a victory for the colleagues attacked, for L’Espresso and for our publishing group Gedi, which immediately became a civil party. I thank the FNSI (the National Federation of the Italian Press), which has always been close to us, and Ossigeno per l’informazione (Oxygen for information) that monitors and defends journalists at risk of intimidation. There is the recognition that whoever touches even one journalist affects all journalists and attacks the freedom of the press which is one of the pillars of democracy and that , therefore it strikes at all citizens. For this reason, it is the victory of those who believe in our profession and in the freedom to inform. A victory for all.”
The Advocate GIULIO VASATURO, defender of the civil party of the FNSI commented: “The ruling fully recognizes the prosecuting case put forward by the public prosecutor Eugenio Albamonte, to whom we extend all our solidarity also for the serious threats suffered in recent weeks from members of the subversive right . The firm condemnation of neo-Fascist violence is reiterated, which today, more and more often, is once again directed at the freedom of information. FNSI shares the commitment of the police, the judiciary and all the democratic forces in defence of Article 21 of the Italian Constitution ”
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