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9 December 2009

Former Guantánamo Bay detainees deserve justice in Italy

Amnesty International is urging the Italian government to ensure that two recently released former Guantnamo Bay detainees receive fair trials in Italy and are not sent back to Tunisia where they would be at risk of torture.

Tunisian nationals Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri are suspected of having committed terrorism-related crimes in Italy prior to their detention at the US detention centre at Guantnamo Bay.

They were taken into custody on their arrival in Italy in November after having spent over seven years without charge or trial at Guantnamo Bay.

"Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri endured years of illegal detention in conditions that amounted to ill-treatment. They will be in urgent need of appropriate psychological and medical services," said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism in Europe.

"The Italian government should take immediate measures to make sure that.these men are not subject to further human rights violations."

Amnesty International is calling on the Italian authorities to ensure that the men are lawfully detained.

The authorities should also evaluate the evidence against the men to ensure that any testimony extracted under torture or ill-treatment is not used in any criminal prosecution of the men, refrain from withholding evidence on the basis of national security and provide compensation for the men if Italy was involved in their on-going detentions or other ill-treatment at Guantnamo Bay.

"If the Italian authorities were involved in intelligence sharing with the USA or other activities that contributed to the men’s unlawful detention and other violations of their rights at Guantnamo Bay, then they should be held accountable," said Julia Hall.

Amnesty International also urges the Italian authorities to guarantee that Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri will not be expelled or deported to Tunisia or to any other country where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

In recent years, the Italian government has attempted to deport and has deported a number of Tunisian nationals to Tunisia, in some cases in violation of rulings issued by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Court has also ruled that Italy violated the absolute ban on returns to risk of torture by sending some back to Tunisia. Amnesty International subsequently learned that some of the people returned to Tunisia reported being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

"The Italian government’s disregard for requests from the European Court of Human Rights to halt deportations to Tunisia while the Court considers the case is very disturbing. It indicates that the government will dispense with the rule of law when it suits them," said Julia Hall.

"The authorities must guarantee now that they will observe the absolute ban on torture and not send Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri back to Tunisia where they will be at risk of such abuse."

 

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: press@amnesty.org

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK www.amnesty.org

 

 

 

AI Index: PRE01/008/2009
Region Europe And Central Asia
Country Italy
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