di Riccardo D'Andrea
Rome, June 14 - Italy's supreme Court of Cassation on Friday upheld seven prison terms handed to police officers and prison doctors for brutality against protestors held at a detention centre in the Bolzaneto barracks during the 2001 Group of Eight (G8) summit in Genoa. The sentences, ranging from one to three years in jail, are connected to two days of mayhem that occurred when more than 300,000 demonstrators converged on Genoa for the G8 summit in July 2001. The court cleared four other police officers and reduced the number of plaintiffs eligible to claim damages from 44 defendants held to be civilly responsible for violence against protesters. In total, 252 demonstrators said they were spat at, verbally and physically humiliated or threatened with rape while being held at the Bolzaneto centre. The Cassation said some of these cases should be pursued in civil courts. During the 2001 G8 one protester was shot dead while attacking a Carabinieri policeman, shops and businesses were ransacked, and hundreds of people injured in clashes between police and demonstrators. During a night raid by police at the Diaz school, which was being used by G8 protestors as sleeping quarters, three people were left comatose and 26 had to be taken to hospital. That attack by police gained headlines worldwide. Last year in a separate trial, the Cassation condemned police heads involved in the Diaz beatings, upholding the findings of a lower appeals court two years previously. In June 2010 top officers Francesco Guatteri and Giovanni Luperi were given four years in jail for the raid. Both had been cleared at the original trial in 2008. The head of the security police in Genoa at the time, Spartaco Mortola, also cleared at the original trial, was given three years eight months. Thirteen police agents convicted of brutality in 2008 saw their sentences raised from three to four years. Former Rome flying squad chief Vincenzo Canterini, the only higher ranking officer convicted in 2008, saw his jail term lengthened from four to five years in 2010. But many other police offices allegedly involved saw their cases timed out. The judges found that the senior officials ordered the raid, unlike the 2008 judges who ruled the police acted on their own without instructions from their superiors.