An English freelance journalist brutally beaten by Italian police during the Group of Eight summit in Genoa in 2001 was on Wednesday awarded 350,000 euros in compensation from the Italian government. "After 11 years of fighting, I'm signing for a full compensation," said Mark Covell following the settlement with the interior ministry. Covell was unconscious for 14 hours after police in riot gear raided the Diaz school, used by anti-globalist protesters as sleeping quarters.
The bludgeoning left him with a vein twisted around his spine, a perforated lung, broken fingers, ten smashed teeth and eight broken ribs.
"It cost me the best years of my life and my career," he said Wednesday. "I will rest for a few months knowing that beyond all doubt we have shown who the real culprits were at Diaz". Two other people were left comatose and 26 were hospitalized the same night. In an explanation of a July ruling that upheld the convictions of several high-ranking officers, Italy's top appeals court said that violent actions by some police and unprovoked mass arrests of anti-globalization demonstrators discredited Italy in the eyes of the world. The court slammed police for fabricating justifications for their actions, such as falsely claiming that protesters had stabbed an officer and were about to use Molotov cocktails, which were in fact planted by the police. Senior police made false accusations and committed slander against the accused, and overall failed in their duties during the three-day summit in Genoa, the court said in upholding and even increasing prison sentences against senior officers.
Amid the violence that marred the three-day event, a police officer killed a 23-year-old protester as he was about to hurl a fire extinguisher into his vehicle.
In its July final ruling, the court said that former national police chief Gianni De Gennaro, the only senior officer to be acquitted at the end of the appeals process, had demanded arrests "to redeem the image of the police from charges of inertia" against militant rampages that devastated the northwestern port city.
But jail sentences were suspended for many top officers who have yet to be sanctioned by the interior ministry, and sentences for the riot police eventually timed out. "There's a film that shows my torturers, but no policeman, none of their colleagues, has identified them," said the British journalist, who is seeking further investigations to find the men who nearly killed him.
"It's been 10 years. Somebody has to go. There needs to be an example".