26 December 2011

Great escape on Christmas Day in the CIE of Turin

Christmas-time is holiday for everyone. For the blacksmiths, who were supposed to repair the damaged locks of the cage the night before, December 24, but were on holiday. For the police and the military on duty, who surely must have the right to open their panettone and uncork a bottle of sparkling wine. And especially for the inmates of the centre for identification and expulsion (CIE) in Turin, who on the evening of December 25 instead of waiting for their presents, proceeded to break through the gates of the cages and throw themselves en masse against the perimeter wall onto Corso Brunelleschi.

All the male sections participated in the revolt, and it seems that someone even tried to open the women’s cage, unsuccessfully. Decidedly outnumbered, the military stalled until reinforcements arrived, complete with water cannons and tear gas fired at eye level. By then, however, as many as 35 young men had managed to jump over the wall. One of them fractured his legs in the fall and was taken back by the police, who in the meantime were searching the neighbourhood street by street to track the fugitives, capturing 14 of them. In the end however, the outcome remains more than positive. 21 detainees have in fact returned to freedom. This is the second largest getaway in the history of the Turin CIE, the first being the one of September 21 that led to the escape of 22 prisoners, ten days after the famous hacksaw escape when on September 10, twelve other inmates returned to freedom. In all, it adds up to 55 escapees in three months. And it now seems that the success of previous escapes has served as an example. There is strength in numbers. And more often than in past years, the inmates of several sections join forces to break through the gates and overtake the perimeter wall, relying on numerical superiority. Physical revolt appears to have remained the only means at their disposal, in a country where the rule of law claims it is legal to detain a person for 18 months, guilty of an expired document or a passport without a visa.

translated by Camilla Gamba