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Italy passes bill making ‘Torture’ crime under national law

Italy has finally passed a bill making torture a crime under national law, after years of parliamentary back-and-forth.

Jul 6, 2017 09:25 IST
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Italy has finally passed a bill making torture a crime under national law, after years of parliamentary back-and-forth.

The bill was passed on 5 July 2017 with 198 lawmakers backing the legislation, 35 opposing it and 104 abstaining. It aims to make torture punishable by four to 10 years in prison and 12 years for members of the security forces.

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Rome signed the UN Convention against Torture in 1984 but had never transferred it into national legislation. Torture is defined under the law as intense physical suffering or psychological trauma verifiably caused by violence, grave threats or cruel actions.

Background

In 2015 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had blasted Italy for police violence against anti-globalisation activists on the sidelines of the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, ruling that officers' actions against protesters sheltering in a school were similar to torture.

Several members of the Italian security forces were convicted after the violence but this did not include any officers who had been at the scene.

The ECHR criticised this decision, saying it showed there was a "structural problem" with the Italian legislation.

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