march 2007


European Union: the political trial based on the charge of terrorism

Interview with lawyer Flavio Rossi Albertini

To continue the analyse of the preventive counter- revolution and the limitation to the possibilities of political expression ( that we led on during these years on our review), here there is the interview with Flavio Rossi Albertini, an Anvi Er's lawyer; Anvi Er is one of the two comrades arrested in Italy during the so- called "operazione 1° aprile". You will also find Anvi's free declaration during the last hearing in the Court of Assizes of Perugia and some pieces from a letter by Bahar Kimyongür, a Belgian activist who has expressed solidarity to the Turkish prisoners' struggles and who is now in the prison of Gand.

How have been changed national laws against terrorism since September 11? And how much did they weigh on the inquiry about DHKP- C?
The trial against Anvi and Zeynep, who are considered to be two militants of the Turkish Marxist organisation DHKP- C, was born from the modification of the paragraph 270 bis of the Italian penal code. You surely remember that in every country laws against terrorism have been suffering an involution/evolution process since the attack against the Twin Towers on September 11. This process has happened in Italy too.
Actually, during the first months of Berlusconi's legislature the Parliament decided to change the paragraph 270 bis of the penal code with the 10/18/01 n. 374 legislative decree, which after has been converted in the law n. 234 in 2001. So, they gave the juridical system a penal instrument to repress any international terrorist group which is in Italy.
During 2002 both in Italy and Europe was constituted the substrate from which the "operazione 1° aprile" is born.
On the May 2 2002 the European Council approved the European Black List. With that list the activity of some international organisations were considered terrorist, for example: PKK, Sendero Luminoso, the armed wing of Hamas (Hamas Izz al -Din al-Qassem), the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and DHKP- C. Moreover, on June 13 2002 the European Council approved the "decision about the struggle against terrorism". With this, the European Union accepted the definition of terrorism contained in the English "Terrorism Act". So, terrorism is every violent action which has a political intention. In this way the distinction between terrorism and subversion is annulled.
Italian laws distinguished, althoug only formally, between subversive associations and international terrorist ones until 2005 and provided for italian judge's intervention only for the last one. According to the paragraph 270 bis, in Italy an international subversive association could not be processed.
But the distinction between subversion and terrorism was annulled by the "Pacchetto Pisanu" (144/2005 legislative decree). After the attacks against London in 2005, the Italian government decided to introduce other cases of crime about international terrorism and for this it takes the liberty- destroying definition of terrorism (paragraph 270 sexies(1) from the penal code) contained in the English "Terrorism Act". In this way the juridical concept of subversion results empty of every sense, because it has been subsumed under the general concept of international terrorism.
Eventually, we have to say that the "operazione 1° aprile" is based on the changes of laws made after September 11. Before that day our country had not any law against an organisation which wanted to do terrorist actions against a strange country. Italy changed the paragraph 270 bis and provided for the punishment only against international terrorist organisation since 2001. So, in Italy it was possible to judge DHKP- C because it has been considered a terrorist organisation.

How did you try to contrast the charge of terrorism against DHKP- C?
The thing that the defence tried to demonstrate is that the Turkish revolutionary left acted as if it was engaged in a liberation struggle against Turkish fascist regime, like the Italian liberation struggle. The one of DHKP- C is a total struggle: with arms but sustained by social resistance made of lots of associations, trade unions, radios, journals and so on. Moreover military actions of DHKP- C has been never directed against population but always against representatives of institutions and of the army. So, according to the defence there was a lack of elements to talk about terrorism, because the target was neither killing population nor terrorise her. We also tried to demonstrate that Turkish state is authoritarian because it is based on a constitution approved after the military coup in 1980. It uses tortures, murders, disappearances to put away political oppositions. It arrests journalists and closes down dissident journals...
But these things did not interest to the Court of Perugia. They wanted to trial DHKP- C without considering the Turkish contest.
We knew the limits of our defence in a moment in which Turkey is more and more considered as a good commercial partner on the international scene. It is a faithful military ally and it represents the outlet of natural resources coming from the ex- soviet republics.
The process against DHKP- C celebrated in Italy is the result of a political choice according to which a good partnership between Italy and Turkey can be also created with the juridical collaboration against Marxist guerrilla warfare.
So they did not want to inquire into Turkish political and social situation. At the same time the guerrilla fighters who revolted against the friend- country could not have any legitimation and must be treated like fool terrorists.

So, how can we define the difference between a terrorist action and a "subversive" one?
It is enough to know the story of every country, of its founders, of their actions to understand how much the actual debate about terrorism is poor- and to understand the political intention of calling terrorist also who is not a terrorist.
If we followed the definition of terrorism used in the actual debate lots of people that today institutions venerate as "fathers of the homeland" would be terrorists.
How many places are dedicated in Italy to Guglielmo Oberdan, who twice tried to kill the Emperor of Austria- Hungary throwing bombs in public celebrations? Oberdan was a young irredentist from Trieste who was convinced that is native town must be Italian. Oberdan' s memory was so strong at the beginning of XX century that when soldiers were sent to the massacre of the First World War they sang the song "Morte a Franz, viva Oberdan" ("Death to Franz, viva Oberdan", translator's note).
But there is also Giuseppe Mazzini, who theorised the gangs war as the first step of a national war. Mazzini talked about "insurrectional apostolate". How should we define Giuseppe Mazzini: a terrorist or a patriot?
Without talking about the resistance (against Nazi- fascism, translator's note), about GAP's actions, about the bombes against Nazis and the revenges against the fascists of the Republic of Salò.
In fact, the actual concept of terrorism has the function to demonize the enemy, make him indefensible, put away from him any sympathy which could come from a great part of population.
To understand better what we are talking about can be enough saying that still in 1999 in the European test "Global convention about terrorism" (the actual Global Terrorism Act), terrorism is defined as a violent action against innocent people to frighten population, the indiscriminate action, like a bomb in a market, in a square, in a cinema...
But today this definition is interpreted in a extensive way and the tentative, not too much hidden, is extending it in order to include every violent behaviour, mostly if it is used as an instrument for a political struggle.

Which are the warning signs of the inquiry?
During Berlusconi' s legislature, Italy decided to accept the Turkish request of juridical collaboration, because of its role of faithful ally of the USA, GB, Israel and Turkey.
Turkish antiterrorism institutions gave some information about some calls coming from Italy (mostly from Perugia) and claiming some attacks happened in Turkey.
The carabineers Service (the 4° Service thanks to D' Alema' s legislature) accepted the request and identified in the two accused the DHKP- C cell operating in Italy, with the help of a Turkish liaison officer.
So they intercepted their phones, houses, computers and police dogged their footsteps, they were observed and controlled with a disproportionate waste of instruments, men and energy.
On April 1 the two Turkish accused, together with tree Italians, suffered a provisional arrest because they were identified as two DHKP- C militants.

Let's talk about violations of the defence right...
When the accused were arrested nobody translated to them the order of preventive detention. In this way their right of defence was violated.
Nobody translated the notice at the end of the preliminary inquires. Neither the request of indictment nor the notice about the date of the preliminary hearing were translated.
We have to say that these violations are submitted to a sanction by the nullity of not translated acts. From that comes the necessity of renewing them with the enclosed translation as in paragraph 144, as it was interpreted in the Sentence of the Constitutional Court n.10 on 1993.
On the contrary, the political nature of the process determined that all the nullity exceptions proposed by the defence, were rejected by the Gip firstly, and then by the Court of Liberty of Perugia and by the court of cassation.
The inquiry, which was political, could not be lessened by nullities and exceptions, because these could have led to the release of the accused.
Another violation happened when at the preliminary hearing a judge chosen by the Court of Perugia arbitrarily was granted to the treatment of the hearing. In this way they violated the rules for the nomination of judges (constitutional principal of the "Natural judge preconstituted according to the law").
Also this judge rejected all the exceptions coming from the defence and accepted all the demands coming from the Director of Public Prosecution's office.
Moreover, during the process we discovered that the liaison officer, who collaborated with the ROS of Carabineers, was responsible of the interrogatory of the arrested and of the detainees of the anti- terrorism of Istanbul.
So we asked to know if people arrested in Turkey for the April 1 enquiry ( the Turkish part of Italian enquiry) confessed of having suffered tortures.
We asked if it was true that DHKP- C militants had been killed by Turkish institutions and that nobody had the "privilege" to be captured still alive.
We also asked about the number of political prisoners, journals closed by the police, the repression of dissent, the human rights associations...
Lots of questions had not be accepted by the Court of Assizes of Perugia, because it preferred not to investigate into the political, economical and social situation of that country.
Another sign which demonstrates the political and symbolic character, in the international context, of the process, is the fact that near the Public Prosecutor were always sitting a colonel and two ROS sub officer.
I have never heard of a process with a so bad situation ( BR, Insurrectional Anarchists, "Sud Ribelle"...).
But we also have to say that all the ROS Carabineers and the Turkish officer gave their testimony hidden behind a screen. They were hidden to the view of advocates, accused and public.
When they were coming in the room their face was hidden with a headgear and their clothes with a coat.
Probably the ROS used a "Turkish" manner to run the process, which had never been used.
To finish, we can remember that the effect of the maximum terms of the preventive imprisonment, which was assured by the paragraph 304, had been suspended to both the accused. This means that today they both should be out of prison because the time employed to make the process had gone over one year, the maximum limit for the preventive imprisonment. The ordinance, accepted by the court after the request made by the Public Prosecutor, is the result of a juridical artifice.

What about the conditions of detention?
Even though the Turkish accused are only two in Italy, we have to say that when the Court of Assizes authorized the dialogue between them, the Ministry of Justice, throughout DAP, immediately sent Avni in the prison of Nuoro. From august 2005 Avni is assigned to Badu e Carros prison.
The transfer in Sardinia was made also if Avni was accused in Perugia, in spite of the fact that his advocates lived in Perugia and Rome and that he obtained the permission to talk with his female relative co- accused in Rome.

Avni Er
Via Badu e Carros 1 - 08100 Nuoro

Zeynep Kilic
Via Bartolo Longo 92 - 00156 Roma Rebibbia


1) Paragraph 270- sexies (Behaviours with a terrorist aim)
Will be considered terrorist those behaviours which, for their nature or contest, can bring damages to a Country or to an international organisation and are done in order to frighten population or to obligate the public powers or an international organisation to do or not to do something or in order to destabilize or to destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economical and social institutions of a Country or of an international organisation, as well as all other behaviours considered terrorist or done with a terrorist aim by conventions or other forms of international right valid for Italy too.