Genoa 'police brutality' dossier handed over

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The Independent Online

An official dossier detailing allegations of police brutality against five Britons arrested during riots at the G8 summit in Genoa was handed over to the Italian government by the Foreign Office yesterday.

Sir John Shepherd, the British ambassador to Italy, passed on the file to the Italian foreign ministry and to a special team investigating allegations of assault, wrongful arrest and torture being levelled at the carabinieri, Italy's paramilitary police force.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the files contained detailed interviews with the Britons, arrested on Sunday. Four of the Britons returned to the UK on Thursday while one – Mark Covell, 33, from London – remains in an Italian hospital where he is being treated for internal bleeding and broken ribs.

Another, Norman Blair, 38, who lives in north London, was among several hundred demonstrators outside the Italian embassy in London yesterday.

"I was kidnapped and tortured by the Italian state and the Italian police," he claimed. "I was held in appalling conditions for over four days."

Yesterday, Mr Blair accused the Foreign Office of failing to arrange for consular officials to meet him in jail. He added: "I have not been contacted once by the Foreign Office since coming home."

The Foreign Office spokesman dismissed the allegations, although Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, is examining claims the Britons held in jail had to wait longer than Spanish detainees to meet their national consuls.

Mr Straw told BBC radio: "If I think there are good grounds for making a complaint with a capital C when I've got the evidence, then of course one will be made."

* An Irish protester is still being held in an Italian jail following his arrest in Genoa last Sunday. Friends claim that Joe Moffat, 28, who is from Drimnagh in Dublin, had been providing medical assistance to protesters.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland said an officer of the Irish embassy visited Mr Moffat on Friday.

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