Italians may make 'small doses' of torture legal

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The Independent Online

Torture may be acceptable provided it is administered in small doses, says a bill under discussion in the Italian parliament that has outraged human rights organisations.

The Chamber of Deputies yesterday passed an amendment, tabled by the far-right Northern League, to the bill which opposition MPs denounced as a green light to "limited" torture but which government supporters said was essential for police.

The amendment says violence and threats must be used repeatedly to qualify as torture. The League said the previous wording had been influenced by police violence at the G8 summit in Genoa three years ago.

"We ... have to make it clear that we don't support those who want to criminalise the police, making their job practically impossible," said Carolina Lussana, the League MP who drafted the amendment.

Marco Bertotto, the chairman ofAmnesty International in Italy, said the law did not respect the terms of a United Nations convention on torture which was ratified by Italy in 1988.