Convicted hunger-striking anarchist in Italy wins transfer

After 15 weeks on a hunger strike to protest particularly harsh prison conditions, an Italian man convicted in attacks claimed by anarchists is being transferred to another prison in Italy for medical care

ByFRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press
January 30, 2023, 11:14 AM

ROME -- After some 15 weeks on a hunger strike to protest particularly harsh prison conditions, an Italian man convicted in attacks claimed by anarchists was being transferred on Monday to another prison in Italy for medical care.

Sky TG24 TV quoted Alfredo Cospito’s lawyer as saying he would be moved shortly from a prison in Sardinia to Milan’s Opera Prison. Lawyer Flavio Rossi Albertini said his client would be taken to a section of the Milan prison for those needing specialized medical care.

Cospito, 55, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for a shooting attack on the CEO of a nuclear engineering company outside the executive’s home in Genoa in 2012. He has also been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for dynamite attacks in Italy.

He began his hunger strike in late October to protest prison conditions reserved for terrorists and top organized crime bosses — including strict limits on the frequency of family visits and time out of one's solitary cell limited to one hour daily.

Anarchists who have been linked to or claimed responsibility for three recent violent incidents have demanded Cospito receive less harsh treatment. The incidents included the torching of an Italian diplomat’s car in Berlin, the vandalizing of the Italian consulate in Barcelona, both on Saturday, and an arson attack on an Italian diplomat's home in Athens nearly two months ago.

Those attacking the consulate in Spain wrote “freedom for Cospito" at the site.

Italian authorities had ordered strict limits on Cospito's visitor privileges and interaction with fellow inmates after contending that he had been communicating with anarchists on the outside.

Sky said the order to transfer Cospito out of the Sardinia prison came after his doctor said that the man risked going into heart fibrilization due to the hunger strike.

Late Saturday night, a small group of Cospito's supporters clashed with police in Rome, leaving one officer injured when hit in the head by a bottle. In the early hours of Sunday, two incendiary devices were lobbed in the parking lot of a police station elsewhere in Rome. No injuries were reported.

Also on Sunday, authorities said two threatening letters, each with a bullet inside the envelopes, were recently sent to a prosecutor in Turin and to the editor-in-chief of a newspaper in northern Italy. The letters threatened more violence if the stiff prison measures weren't eased for Cospito.

On Sunday, Premier Giorgia Meloni's office said in a statement the violence “will not intimidate the institutions. Even less so if the aim is to ease the harshest detention rules for those responsible for terrorist acts.”

The Lapresse news agency said five cars parked outside the offices of an Italian telecommunications company were torched on Monday and scrawled nearby was a slogan denouncing the harsh prison treatment applied to Cospito.

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