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CRIME

Fifteen Italian prison officers probed for alleged torture

Fifteen prison officers in Italy are under investigation for allegedly torturing a Tunisian prisoner, Italian media said on Sunday.

Fifteen Italian prison officers probed for alleged torture
A guard in a prison in Sicily. File photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Prosecutors in Siena accuse the 15 of beating and humiliating a prisoner in the San Gimignano jail last year, the Repubblica daily said. Four of the officers were suspended last week after a months-long probe.

The case against them reportedly draws on surveillance footage and witness statements from other prisoners.

READ ALSO: The Netflix film shocking Italians with a true tale of suspected police brutality

Prison rights group Antigone said it was the first such case to be brought by prosecutors since torture was criminalised in 2017.

“Those who have seen abuse and violence must knock down the wall of silence” protecting perpetrators, the group's head Patrizio Gonnella said.

Unions warned in July that the situation at the San Gimignano jail was “explosive”, the Corriere della Sera daily said.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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