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Five doctors sentenced for death of man in police custody

05/06/2013

Police guards and nurses acquitted in Stefano Cucchi trial

Five doctors sentenced for death of man in police custody

Rome, June 5 - A Rome court on Wednesday sentenced five doctors from Rome's Pertini prison hospital for the death of Stefano Cucchi, a 31-year-old surveyor's clerk who died on October 22, 2009 while in police custody. Three police guards and three nurses also on trial were acquitted. Hospital director Aldo Fierro was sentenced to two years, physicians Stefania Cordi, Flaminia Bruno, Luigi De Marchis and Silvia Di Carlo one year and four months, and staff member Rosita Caponetti eight months. Forensic exams filed by the prosecution reported that Cucchi's condition was not properly treated by hospital staff and that his death was caused by a "severe shortage of food and liquids". Prosecutor Francesca Loy said that medical staff were indifferent to the young man, a drug addict with medical problems who had been described as grumpy and rude. "Their shortcomings are not only negligence, but denote their absolute indifference towards Stefano," said Loy during proceedings. An experts' report also noted that shoddy records were kept at the Pertini prison clinic where Cucchi died, with few notes on the victim's weight, body temperature, or heart rate while he was a patient. An autopsy shortly after Cucchi's death found he was severely dehydrated, had two broken vertebrae and internal organ damage. The report also said that "the traumatic injuries on Cucchi's body correspond with both aggression and with an accidental fall". "My brother is dead from injustice. The doctors have to examine their consciences, my brother would not have died without that beating," Cucchi's sister Illaria said after the sentencing. Others present in the court shouted "killers" after the sentence was read out.