Day release for Italy's most famous 'political prisoner'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Photographers and reporters mobbed Italy's most celebrated "political prisoner" this week as he left jail for the first time to take up a day job in the library of the university he attended as a student. He returns to jail every evening.

Photographers and reporters mobbed Italy's most celebrated "political prisoner" this week as he left jail for the first time to take up a day job in the library of the university he attended as a student. He returns to jail every evening.

Adriano Sofri, in his youth the leader of Lotta Continua, a fringe left-wing group, was jailed for 22 years for the murder of Luigi Calabresi, head of the office for political crimes in Milan, who was shot dead outside his home in 1972.

Sofri has served one-third of his sentence and has turned his jail cell in Pisa into a journalism factory, cranking out think-pieces for some of Italy's best newspapers and magazines. Silvio Berlusconi is among those who have urged his release. But at the weekend the Justice Minister, Roberto Castelli, a Northern League member, said he would like to throw away the key to Sofri's cell.

Luigi Calabresi became notorious in left-wing circles after an anarchist, picked up for suspected involvement in the Piazza Fontana bombing of 1969 which killed 16, fell to his death from a police interrogation room. When Calabresi died, many saw it as revenge for the anarchist's "accidental" death - the inspiration for Dario Fo's play.

Sofri, a former professor at Florence's Academy of Fine Arts, denied involvement, and his case - which meandered through eight trials before his guilt was confirmed by Italy's highest court in 2000 - has become the excuse for endless sniping between left and right. The left wants him pardoned, but Sofri refuses to seek a pardon on the grounds that it would be an admission of guilt.

Comments