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    October 30, 2013

    Rome’s municipal authorities have been running a discriminatory two-track assisted housing system that is denying thousands of Roma people access to adequate housing, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

    “The municipality of Rome is keeping thousands of Roma people on the margins of society. Its assisted housing system is designed and implemented in such a way as to condemn thousands of Roma purely on ethnic grounds to live in segregated, substandard accommodation in camps far from services and residential neighbourhoods. This is a blight on the city of Rome,” said John Dalhuisen, Program Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “This is being done with the tacit complicity of the Italian government which is failing to ensure equal access to adequate housing for all across the country. This is clearly a breach of its international obligation to eliminate discrimination, both under international and European Union law, and to uphold the right to adequate housing.”

    September 13, 2013

    The Italian President Giorgio Napolitano must reject a former CIA agent’s plea to be pardoned for a crime he committed in the country as part of the US-led rendition programme, Amnesty International said.

    Robert Seldon Lady – who is now believed to be back in the USA – wrote to the Italian leader on Wednesday to request a pardon. An Italian court previously convicted him in absentia, sentencing him to nine years in prison for his role in the abduction of Abu Omar from Milan in 2003.

    “This is someone who admits to taking part in a kidnapping operation that resulted in a man being sent to prison in Egypt, where he was tortured. Robert Seldon Lady has evaded justice for a decade, and letting him off the hook now would send a very dangerous message that there is no accountability for crimes that led to enforced disappearance and torture,” said Julia Hall, expert on counter-terrorism and human rights at Amnesty International.

    July 19, 2013

    Amnesty International is calling for the return of CIA agent, Robert Seldon Lady, to Italy to face justice for his part in the US-led rendition programme.

    “By his own admission, he participated in a kidnapping operation that resulted in a man being tortured. Seldon Lady evaded justice by leaving Italy before his trial. This time he should have to answer the charges against him in Italy in person,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International

    Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, was reportedly arrested in Panama earlier this week and is being held as a consequence of an arrest warrant issued by Italy. Italy is reportedly requesting Seldon Lady's extradition. He was tried in absentia together with 22 other CIA agents and was sentenced to nine years in jail for his involvement in the kidnapping of Egyptian cleric Abu Omar.

    In February 2003 Abu Omar was abducted in Milan by Italian and US operatives. The cleric was transferred via Germany to Cairo, where he reported that he was tortured in Egyptian custody.

    July 16, 2013

    The Italian government must investigate and make public all the facts behind the illegal expulsion of the wife and daughter of Kazakhstani opposition politician Mukhtar Ablyazov, said Amnesty International today. The Italian parliament is preparing to consider an internal inquiry by the Minister of the Interior on Thursday into allegations of collusion between both countries and other violations of Italian law.

    “The Italian authorities must ensure that there is a full investigation and criminal prosecution for any violation of their human rights. Only then can any allegations of collusion between the Italian and Kazakhstani authorities be put to rest,” said John Dalhuisen, Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year old daughter Alua Ablyazova were apprehended in a house in Rome on 29 May 2013 following a police raid reportedly conducted in search of Mukhtar Ablyazov. There is an outstanding warrant for his arrest on fraud-related charges issued by the authorities of the United Kingdom, and a pending extradition request from Kazakhstan.

    May 02, 2013

    Italy’s Supreme Court today declared the so-called “Nomad emergency” unlawful and unfounded, a move Amnesty International has hailed as a key victory in the struggle to end discrimination against Roma communities around the country.

    The Court’s decision upheld a November 2011 ruling against the state of emergency declared by the government in May 2008, which has led to widespread human rights violations and increased discrimination against Romani people. 

    Roma were targeted in an unlawful census based on ethnicity and deprived of safeguards against forced evictions, which resulted in thousands being made homeless in several Italian cities. They were also increasingly segregated in camps set up by the authorities.

    “The Nomad emergency ushered in an all-time low in Italy’s discriminatory treatment of Roma. We are delighted that the country’s highest court has finally upheld the rights of Romani people,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    February 12, 2013

    lan Appeals Court has ruled that two former top Italian intelligence officials and three agents were involved in the kidnapping of a Egyptian national Abu Omar and his subsequent rendition.

    The two top officials were sentenced to 10 and nine years of imprisonment, while the three other agents received six years each. They were all condemned collectively to pay damages worth Euros 1 million to Abu Omar and Euros 500,000 to his wife.

    Abu Omar, was residing in Italy when he was grabbed off the street in Milan in February 2003 and subsequently unlawfully transferred by the CIA from Italy to Egypt, where he was held in secret and allegedly tortured. His kidnapping in Italy was the beginning of an enforced disappearance.

    "State secrets should never be invoked to shield governments, including their intelligence officials, from accountability for such serious human rights violations," said Julia Hall, Amnesty International's expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.


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