Briton to be compensated for G8 beating

Activist expected to get six-figure sum for injuries at hands of Italian police during Genoa summit

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The Independent Online

Eleven years after police beat scores of peaceful campaigners at a G8 summit in Genoa, the Italian government is expected to announce within days a six-figure compensation payment to one of the British victims of the violence.

Mark Covell was among the 93 activists who were savagely attacked when 300 police burst into the Diaz school building on the night of 21 July 2001. The authorities were looking for activists who had unleashed violent protests in the city earlier that day.

Instead they found unarmed men and women, young and old, preparing to sleep. Virtually all were severely beaten in probably the most shocking incident of police brutality to occur in post-war Europe. Mr Covell suffered a broken hand, eight broken ribs, a shredded left lung, spinal damage, massive internal bleeding and 16 broken teeth. He spent 12 days in intensive care after being flown back to the UK.

Last week a civil court in Genoa recommended that the Italian Interior Ministry award him a sum in the region of €300,000. Mr Covell's lawyer Lavinia Botto told The Independent that final negotiations are taking place today with ministry officials. Another 87 victims of the Diaz violence, along with 159 campaigners assaulted at a detention centre, are also in line for big payouts.

A total of 25 police officers and prison guards were convicted in connection with the violence. Many are still in their posts ahead of their second appeal at the Supreme Court against their conviction. Mr Covell said, "The most important thing is that justice be done."

The prosecutors' investigation into the assault on Mr Covellcould be re-started after the compensation case is settled. He claims he knows most of the names of policemen who attacked him. Mr Covell, who still has spinal injuries, said that he plans to use to his compensation payment to emigrate to New Zealand. Another 16 people – including the most senior police officers – have been acquitted of criminal charges relating to the Diaz violence.