Courtyard of the Bari CIE with burn marks on the ground, 12 November 2014 | Photo: Donatella Lopez / ANSA
Courtyard of the Bari CIE with burn marks on the ground, 12 November 2014 | Photo: Donatella Lopez / ANSA

The appeals court of Bari, in the Italian region of Puglia, upheld the sentence against the Italian interior ministry for damage to the city's image caused by the presence of the former Identification and Expulsion Center (CIE), where foreign citizens were detained in "inhumane and degrading conditions, harmful to their dignity."

The appeals court of Bari upheld the sentence against the Italian interior ministry for damage to the image of the city of Bari caused by the presence of the former Center for Identification and Expulsion (CIE) that closed in 2016 and where foreign citizens were held in "inhumane and degrading conditions, damaging to their dignity."

The Bari judges ruled that the Italian interior ministry will have to compensate for damages, calculated as €20,000.

According to Italian law, the interior ministry is attributed with the "protection of civil rights, citizenship, migration, asylum, and public aid" and "activities of the repatriation centers, the methods of detention, and first aid and rescue activities."

2017 evaluations confirmed

The appeals court judges, nearly entirely confirming the evaluations already made by the Bari civil court in 2017, highlighted that "the damage to the identity of the city of Bari takes on special significance in light of the city statute, the contents and history of which testify to the existence of a community capable of welcoming."

In the 2017 sentence, the judge retraced the history of the city of Bari, in which "foreigners are an integral part" and highlighted the risk that the city could be identified and remembered for the "inhumanity" of the CIE, using examples of places "that remained solidly tied in a negative sense to constraint facilities and the suffering of the human beings placed there," such as Auschwitz, Guantanamo and Alcatraz.

No sentence against prime minister's office

While in 2017 the sentence was passed against the prime minister's office, in this appeal decision there was "no reference to the legal responsibility of the prime minister's office in terms of migration." This was seen as confirmed "in recent investigations by various prosecutor's offices on the detention of migrants aboard NGO or Navy ships (Gregoretti, Open Arms, Diciotti), carried out in 2018-2019."

The Bari judges highlighted in particular that "the accusation of kidnapping brought forth on those occasions has always and only concerned the then interior ministry, without involving other ministries or the prime minister's office."

 

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