Family of man who died in custody meet with Attorney General

Cucchi's sister asks that magistrates' decision be examined

Family of man who died in custody meet with Attorney General

Rome, July 12 - Family members of Stefano Cucchi, a 31-year-old surveyor's clerk who died on October 22, 2009 while in police custody, met with the supreme Cassation Court's Attorney General on Friday to ask for the court to re-examine a magistrate's ruling to acquit three police guards and three nurses last month. "We are asking for consideration and respect," Stefano's sister Ilaria Cucchi said. A Rome court on June 5 sentenced five doctors from Rome's Pertini prison hospital for the death of Cucchi. But the police guards and nurses also on trial were acquitted. "We believe that independence and autonomy of the judiciary are sacred values to our Constitution, but should never be used as a filter for abuse and random truths. Our legal proceedings are watched by all. Everyone must be equal before the law. Everyone should be called on to assume their responsibilities. Even magistrates," Illaria said. 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 at the June hearing 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 and also 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 said after the sentencing. Others present in the court shouted "killers" after the sentence acquitting the police and nurses was read out. (photo: Ilaria Cucchi)

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