Rome

Prosecutors call for prison terms for medical workers

Cucchi died of hunger and thirst while in police custody

Prosecutors call for prison terms for medical workers

Rome, April 8 - Stefano Cucchi, who died of hunger and thirst while in police custody, was as thin as a concentration-camp victim, prosecutors told a court Monday. They called for sentences ranging up to six years in prison for medical staff accused of failing to properly treat Cucchi, a 31-year-old surveyor's clerk who died on October 22, 2009 while in police custody in Rome. Prosecutor Francesca Loy said injuries caused by police while Cucchi was in jail were not that key to his death. But medical staff were indifferent to the young man, a drug addict with medical problems who had been described as grumpy and rude, she said. "Their shortcomings are not only negligence, but denote their absolute indifference towards Stefano," said Loy. Hearings will continue this week with sentencing scheduled for no later than May 22. Earlier forensic evidence concluded the Cucchi was not properly treated by hospital staff, and that his death was caused by a "severe shortage of food and liquids". The findings of the experts is important for the criminal trial of 12 people, including six doctors and three nurses from Rome's Pertini prison hospital along with three jail staff. They stand accused of contributing to his death by abandonment, abuse of office, causing injury, and abuse of authority. The 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.

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