25 July 2011

Italian journalists ask a Court to remove restrictions to the exercise of freedom of information over the CIE

And now we proceed to the courts. After the mobilization of journalists and members of Parliament of July 25th (called lasciateCIEntrare, let us enter), it’s now the lawyers’ turn. The Italian association Unione Forense per i diritti umani (Human rights lawyers association) has just communicated that they have stood in front of the TAR (the Italian Regional Administrative Court of Law) of Lazio (the Region of Rome) to challenge the circular letter 1305 from the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which from April 1st forbids outright and without the possibility of waiver, access by journalists to the centres for identification and expulsion, as well as reception centres for asylum seekers.

The lawyers Anton Giulio Lana and Andrea Saccucci defend the journalists Raffaella Cosentino (freelance collaborator for the newspaper Repubblica and the press agency Redattore Sociale) and Stefano Liberti (newspaper Il Manifesto), who in response to their request to visit the centres were given an official refusal by the prefects of Crotone, Rome and Catania. Such limitations to the freedom of press constitute, according to the lawyers, ‘an unlawful restriction to the exercise of freedom of information and press, guaranteed by the Constitution and by international norms on human rights. A restriction founded on completely arbitrary and discriminatory grounds.’

The appeal is upheld by the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Translated by Camilla Gamba