For Immediate Release
AIUSA media office, 202-544-0200 x302
Former Guantánamo Bay Detainees Deserve Justice in Italy, Says Amnesty International
Detainees Must Not Be Deported to Tunisia and Must Receive Fair Trials in Italy
WASHINGTON - Amnesty International urges
the Italian government to ensure that two recently released Guantánamo
Bay detainees are lawfully detained and receive fair trials in Italy. The
organization emphasizes that they must not be sent back to Tunisia where
they would be at risk of torture.
Tunisian nationals Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh
Nasseri are suspected of terrorism-related crimes in Italy prior to their
detention at the US detention center at Guantánamo Bay.
Mabrouk and Nasseri were taken into custody
upon arriving in Italy last month after spending seven years at Guantánamo
Bay without charge or trial.
“Adel Ben Mabrouk and Riadh Nasseri endured
years of illegal detention in conditions that amounted to ill-treatment,”
said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counterterrorism in
Europe. “They will be in urgent need of appropriate psychological and
The Italian government should take immediate
measures to make sure that these men are not subject to further human rights
Italian authorities should evaluate the evidence
against the men to ensure that they receive fair trials. Any testimony
extracted under torture or ill-treatment must not be used in criminal prosecution.
Additionally, the government should not withhold evidence on the basis
of national security and should provide compensation,
if Italy is shown to be involved in their detentions at Guantánamo Bay.
“If the Italian authorities were involved
in intelligence sharing with the US or other activities that contributed
to the men’s unlawful detention and other violations of their rights at
Guantánamo Bay, then they should be held accountable,” said Hall.
Amnesty International also urges the Italian
authorities to guarantee that Mabrouk and 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 and successfully deported a number of Tunisian nationals to Tunisia,
in some cases in violation of rulings issued by the European Court of Human
The Court has also ruled that Italy violated
the absolute ban on returns to risk of torture through these actions.
Amnesty International has learned that some of those returned to Tunisia
have 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,” said Hall.
“It indicates that the government will dispense with the rule of law when
it suits them.”
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.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
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