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Italy turns on its immigrants in wake of a murder

sociology


THE INDEPENDENT

Outcasts: Italy turns on its immigrants in wake of a murder

These are the first victims of a brutal Italian crackdown on immigrants. As thousands await deportation without trial, are we entering a new era of intolerance across Europe?



By Peter Popham in Rome

Published: 03 November 2007

They sat forlornly on the banks of the Tiber yesterday while the shantytowns they had called home only hours before were demolished. Already outcasts from the mainstream of Italian life, now they have been banished from whatever impromptu shelter they had found. And the city rejoiced at their misfortune.

Three small kittens and a hungry-looking mongrel are the last remaining inhabitants of the Roma squatter camp on the northern outskirts of Rome. The camp is yards from Tor di Quinto station on a commuter line from central Rome, but, screened by trees and creepers and huddled in a narrow gully, it is invisible until you part the creeper and step inside. Then you find the first of a line of flimsy huts, put together from scrap wood and fabric and cardboard but neat and cared-for. Inside some of them have rugs on the floor, tiny gas cooking stoves, dressers with ornaments, a double bed, a broken down chair; outside is a mouldy old sofa, a moth-eaten beach umbrella shading an old coffee table: la dolce vita for Italy's poorest and most marginal residents.

The camp is empty because on Wednesday a naval captain's wife, Giovanna Reggiani, 47, returning home from a shopping trip to central Rome, was attacked and robbed near here, and dumped in the gully. Last night she died in hospital. It was a vicious crime, and fed into a mounting national mood of anger and exasperation about immigration. Suddenly Italy's political system, normally so sluggish, sprang into life.

Within hours Italy was doing what millions of people around Europe - whipped up by populist politicians and a xenophobic media - would like to see their own governments doing: taking quick, dramatic and draconian action to teach the immigrants a lesson they won't forget.

A new law on security has been creeping through parliament: one of its central provisions is that foreigners belonging to EU countries and resident in Italy can be expelled on the orders of local prefects if they are a threat to "public security". No trial is necessary. On Wednesday night, at the urging of Walter Veltroni, the Mayor of Rome and leader of a new centrist party, the Democratic Party, that provision was extracted from the law, quickly redrafted as a "decree-law", a sort of diktat, and signed by the President overnight. From being the sluggard of the EU, suddenly Italy was in the vanguard. "First 5,000 expulsions to go ahead," promised La Repubblica newspaper.

The decree law came into force yesterday, and last night the Prefect of Milan became the first in the country to apply for its implementation, demanding the expulsion of four Roma. The Roma are as ever the first minority group to be singled out and vilified when anti-immigrant sentiments are inflamed.

While the politicians and lawyers were thrusting the law through the system, the state was coming down hard on the squatters of Tor di Quinto. A line of police cars arrived at the site and police chased the Roma away from their makeshift homes. Forensic detectives went through the camp for clues to the murder, and it was expected that its shacks would be levelled by bulldozers within a few hours. Other police teams descended on camps small and large dotted across the shabby, sprawling, crime-infested and chaotic Roman outskirts, and along the squalid banks of the Tiber.

It's the sort of bold, drastic action against the tide of immigration that many have called for across much of western Europe.

The free movement of people across the continent is a cornerstone of the union of 27 member states but the linkage between immigration and crime remains explosive. In Italy, as in Britain, the Netherlands and elsewhere, the issue of foreign criminals stirs a mob mentality that can quickly remove senior politicians from office if they are caught on the wrong side of it.

Statistics do little to calm the debate. Analysis from the Metropolitan Police suggests that foreign migrants are if anything less likely to commit crimes than other groups. Figures suggested that they made up 27 per cent of the population in London but committed 20 per cent of the crimes. Danny Sriskandarajah, a respected expert on migration at the Institute of Public Policy Research, said: "Although the evidence may suggest foreigners are no more, and maybe less likely to be criminal in the UK there is a combination of fears about outsiders and mistrust of outsiders.

Yesterday the consensus on the streets of Rome was that the crackdown was long overdue. A woman on crutches at Ponte Milvio, a couple of miles from the crime scene, said baldly: "It would be better if they all went home. Here we are all scared." A middle-aged woman shopping with her husband said: "I've no objection to them being here as such. But if they don't have regular work and a steady income, if they have to rob and murder to stay alive, it would be better if they went home."

But another woman said Mr Veltroni couldn't escape blame. "He's been a good mayor in many ways but it's true that he has had no interest in dealing with this problem."

If the murder of Mrs Reggiani has plunged Italy into a moral panic, it has been a long time coming. Politicians, Mr Veltroni and the post-Fascist leader Gianfranco Fini leading the pack, have been doing everything they can to prove that they are tough on immigrant crime. Mr Fini took journalists up in a plane the other week to point out Rome's squatter camps, while Mr Veltroni flew to Bucharest to plead with the Romanian President to put a brake on emigration.

Increasingly racist coverage of muggings, rapes and murders in the press and on television has built a mood of national hysteria. In Italy there is a widespread feeling that the country is swamped by outsiders. About 700,000 immigrants have arrived - more than in any other EU country. Yet it rests on a flimsy basis of fact. In the 10 months since Romania entered the EU, Romanians have been accused of nine separate cases of murder against Italians, a number dwarfed by, for example, gang murders in Naples.

Amid the cathartic sense yesterday that at last the people's voice was being heard, murmurs of doubt arose. If only the lane leading to the station had had the benefit of a few street lamps - would the murder have happened? If Mr Veltroni had taken action against the squatter camps years ago instead of negligently allowing them to multiply - would the country be faced with this sense of crisis?

The attack on Giovanna Reggiani came to light after a Roma woman stood in the middle of the road and forced a bus to stop. Unable to speak Italian, she screamed the name of the man now accused of the murder - "Mailat!" - and mimed a man carrying a body. She led the police to the body, and to the shack where Nicolae Romolus Mailat lived with his mother. After receiving threats from people in the camp she is now under police protection.

Mr Mailat was remanded in custody charged with attempted murder, sexual violence and robbery. He has admitted only the robbery.

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Pope urges respect as politicians turn on Italy's Roma population

By Peter Popham in Rome

Published: 05 November 2007

The Pope has called on Italy to respect immigrants' rights after opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi urged the closure of borders to Romanian workers, and conservative allies demanded thousands of Roma be deported.

Thirty-eight Romanians were expelled over the weekend, using the tough new diktat signed into law on Friday. And despite a brutal attack on a group of Romanians in a suburb of the Italian capital on Friday night, top Italian politicians continued their assault on immigrants over the weekend, with the leader of the post-fascist National Alliance calling for the expulsion of 20,000 from Rome alone.

Yesterday Pope Benedict added his voice to those calling for a more measured approach to the immigration problem. He told pilgrims in St Peter's Square: "I wish that the relations between migrant and local populations should be in the spirit of high moral civility and the fruit of the spiritual and cultural values of every people and country."

He called for the "rights and duties at the basis of every real cohabitation and relationship between peoples" to be guaranteed.

Gianfranco Fini, former foreign minister in Mr Berlusconi's government, said: "People can't take it any more, because this wave of immigration has caused a growth in criminality.

"The gypsy camps must be demolished," he said, adding "[some] are worthy of Calcutta. Those who live in those squatter camps on the river bank, or amid rats and sewage under the open sky, it's obvious that they don't have work and that's why they must be expelled. And that doesn't mean being given a warning that they must leave, it means being put on the bus and taken back to Bucharest."

In Bucharest, the Italian ambassador was asked to give an explanation for the attack on Friday, while Franco Frattini, the EU's commissioner for immigration, said that Italy, like other EU countries, already had "a vast arsenal of tools and norms for managing immigration". But the politicians behind the controversial diktat enabling immigrants deemed a threat to public security to be summarily expelled continued to defend it. The diktat was rushed through hours after the murder last week of an Italian woman, Giovanna Reggiani, near a squatter camp on Rome's outskirts. The residents of the camp were scattered by police, and the camp itself destroyed by bulldozers.

Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome, leader of the new Democratic Party and prime mover behind the diktat, said: "A very strong signal was required against this type of criminality. I am always on the side of the weakest - and for me the weakest are those who suffer violence. There is a growing sense of insecurity among our citizens."

He appealed to the opposition to back the measures.

But attacks on Mr Veltroni's initiative from across Europe continued to resonate. The front page of Saturday's Independent, with the headline "Outcasts" above a photo of the Roma chased from their camp, was reproduced in all the main Italian papers.

But as left-wing members of the governing coalitions squirmed under the attacks of the left-wing Italian media, Interior Minister Giuliano Amato, popularly known as Dr Subtle, found the perfect justification: the diktat was needed "to prevent the tiger of xenophobia, the beast of racism, from breaking out of the cage".

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Davis promises hard line on immigration and crime

By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent

Published: 03 October 2007

The Conservatives have thrust immigration into the heart of the next election campaign, promising a substantial cut in the numbers of migrants who are allowed into Britain.

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, reached out to the party's core vote with a promise to overhaul the "out-of-control" immigration system, reclaim the streets with zero-tolerance policing and reverse the "tide of social breakdown". He said he would scrap the national identity card scheme, using the money saved to build 1,200 more prison places, and introduce fresh programmes on drug addiction.

Mr Davis's tough words on immigration will be seen as an attempt to reassure traditional supporters anxious over the party's direction. They follow David Cameron's recent declaration that immigration had been too high over the past decade.

Ministers are aware of their vulnerability on the issue and hope it will not feature too prominently in a campaign that could begin within weeks. But Mr Davis told the conference: "I want to make it absolutely clear that immigration is a key issue for the next Conservative government."

He protested that the Government had presided over an "open door" policy that had allowed 700,000 east European migrants to travel to Britain after the EU expanded.

He set out a bleak vision of social decline in Britain, with growing levels of violent crime, drug abuse and family breakdown. But he added: "When I'm Home Secretary, the police will reclaim the streets, they will break up the gangs and they will enforce zero tolerance of all crime."

And Mr Davis said new drug treatment orders, which put the focus on total abstinence from drugs rather than managing addiction, would be introduced.

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Le Monde

Les Etats membres peuvent s'appuyer sur une directive européenne pour limiter la liberté de circulation

LE MONDE | 03.11.07 | 13h39  .  Mis à jour le 03.11.07 | 13h58







ien que désormais ressortissants européens, les Roms de Bulgarie et de Roumanie restent les indésirables de l'Union européenne. Le commissaire aux droits de l'homme du Conseil de l'Europe, Thomas Hammarberg, s'en est alarmé le 24 octobre, constatant que "le sentiment d'hostilité à l'égard des Roms ou l'antitsiganisme se sont indéniablement accrus o ruptura en Europe"

CHIFFRES

Le nombre d'immigrés en situation régulière est de 3,7 millions en 2006, soit 6,2 % de la population (rapport Caritas-Migrates).

Avec 700 000 étrangers de plus en un an, soit une progression de 21 %, l'Italie a la troisième plus forte augmentation des pays européens, après l'Espagne et l'Allemagne.

La moitié des immigrés sont originaires des pays d'Europe ; un quart sont installés en Lombardie.

Les Roumains sont la plus importante communauté étrangère en Italie (556 000, 15,1 %), devant les Marocains (387 000), les Albanais (381 000), les Ukrainiens (195 000) et les Chinois (186 000). Sur 124 383 clandestins arrêtés en 2006, 45 449 (soit 36,5 %) ont été renvoyés dans leur pays d'origine.

[-] fermer

Les autorités italiennes jugent le décret qu'elles viennent d'adopter pour expulser des Roumains "contrevenant à la sécurité" conforme au droit européen. Depuis qu'ils sont entrés dans l'Union, le 1er janvier 2007, Roumains et Bulgares bénéficient des mêmes droits que les autres citoyens européens, sauf en matière d'emploi, domaine dans lequel les Etats peuvent imposer des restrictions aux ressortissants des nouveaux pays membres, pendant sept ans au plus. Pour le reste, le droit de circuler et de séjourner librement est reconnu aux Roumains et aux Bulgares, comme à tous les Européens.

Une directive du 29 avril 2004 précise cependant les conditions d'exercice de ce droit, ainsi que ses limitations. Elle indique notamment que "les citoyens de l'Union ont le droit de séjourner sur le territoire d'un autre Etat membre pour une période allant jusqu'à trois mois, sans autres conditions ou formalités que l'exigence d'être en possession d'une carte d'identité ou d'un passeport en cours de validité".

"CHARGE DÉRAISONNABLE"

Toutefois, ils ne doivent pas devenir "une charge déraisonnable" pour le système d'assurance sociale de l'Etat, devant soit travailler, soit disposer de ressources suffisantes et d'une assurance-maladie. Les Etats membres peuvent aussi "restreindre la liberté de circulation et de séjour d'un citoyen de l'Union" pour des raisons "d'ordre public, de sécurité publique ou de santé publique".

C'est en vertu de cette directive que le ministère de l'intérieur français s'était lui aussi attaché, à la veille de l'entrée de la Bulgarie et de la Roumanie dans l'Union, le 22 décembre 2006, à adresser aux préfets une circulaire, précisant "les modalités d'admission au séjour et d'éloignement des ressortissants roumains et bulgares". Ce qu'il n'avait pas jugé nécessaire de faire en 2004, lorsque les huit autres pays d'Europe centrale et orientale avaient adhéré à l'Union.

A la différence de la grande majorité de ses partenaires européens, la Grande-Bretagne n'avait opposé aucune restriction à l'arrivée de travailleurs venus de Pologne ou des pays baltes après la précédente vague d'élargissement de 2004. Mais, en octobre 2006, elle a à son tour pris des mesures restrictives à l'arrivée de Roumains et Bulgares. Londres a décidé que seuls 20 000 travailleurs non qualifiés de ces deux pays seraient chaque année autorisés à venir travailler, dans le secteur de l'agriculture et pour une période limitée à six mois. Mardi 30 octobre, le secrétaire d'Etat britannique à l'immigration a annoncé la prolongation de douze mois de ces restrictions.

Thomas Ferenczi (à Bruxelles) et Laetitia Van Eeckhout

Article paru dans l'édition du 04.11.07.

Vie et destin de Roms : d'un bidonville à l'autre

Article paru dans l'édition du 12.10.07




ls sont roms de Roumanie, misérables et parias. Quand leur pays est entré dans l'Union européenne, ils sont partis en France. Gyongyi, 37 ans, son compagnon, Mircea Doraban, et sa fille, Lena Jeanna, ont quitté leur bidonville de Tinca, une bourgade proche de la frontière avec la Hongrie. Ils ont vécu quelque temps dans des gourbis insalubres de Vénissieux, aux portes de Lyon. Il vendait un journal de sans-abri dans les rues de Lyon ; Gyongyi mendiait ; Lena allait au collège.

Visée par une invitation à quitter la France, la famille a accepté l'aide au retour : 157 euros par adulte, 47 euros par enfant. Elle a regagné la Roumanie. On lui a promis une aide locale. Le pécule de départ a servi à payer le taxi en Roumanie (photo). La famille de Gyongyi a retrouvé le bidonville de Tinca. Et ne pense qu'à repartir.

Billet simple pour la Roumanie

Article publié le 12 Octobre 2007
Source : LE MONDE
Taille de l'article : 1455 mots

Extrait : En septembre, les Roms installés dans la région de Lyon ont été évacués vers leur pays. Depuis des années, la France finance un système pour les inciter à ne pas revenir. Guère probant, sur le terrain. Les bagages n'ont pas encore été déballés et il règne dans le foyer une atmosphère de veillée funèbre. Les voisins, curieux d'accueillir ces revenants, osent à peine rentrer. Les hommes à l'extérieur parlent à voix basse. Prostrée sur son lit, Gyongyi, 37 ans, remâche son désespoir. Avec sa fille, Lena Jeanna, 12 ans, et son compagnon, Mircea Doraban, elle vient tout juste de regagner Tinca, après six mois d'errance dans des bidonvilles de l'agglomération lyonnaise.

Victima presupusa a unui român a murit la Roma

Giovanna Reggiani, de 47 de ani, a murit la spitalul Sant' Andrea

În ultimele doua zile, atacul violent al unui român asupra unei femei, la periferia Romei, a devenit un mare caz mediatic.

Miercuri si joi, toate ziarele din Peninsula au publicat articole în primele pagini, în care s-au ocupat nu numai de acest caz, dar si de infractorii români în Italia si de problema securitatii cetatenilor italieni, în general.

A fost vorba despre o adevarata escaladare a ororii, care a culminat joi seara, la ora 21 ora României, cu vestea ca victima agresiunii românului a murit la spitalul Sant' Andrea de la Roma.

Acolo erau prezenti sotul femeii (amiral de la Marina Militara Italiana), sora ei si batrânii parinti, distrusi de durere.

Victima se numea Giovanna Reggiani si avea 47 de ani.

Presa italiana despre masurile împotriva imigrantilor

Asteptam comentarii pe forumul BBC

Suspectul: Nicolae Romulus Mailat

Prezumptivul asasin, Nicolae Romulus Mailat, are 24 de ani si se afla în închisoarea Regina Coeli de la Roma, unde va fi interogat vineri si de un grup de politisti români care au sosit la Roma pentru a colabora la acest caz.

Românul se declara nevinovat si sustine ca a furat numai geanta femeii, fara a o ataca sau viola.

Dar politistul care l-a arestat a declarat ca avea mâinile murdare de sânge si hainele pline de noroi.

De asemenea, politia italiana sustine ca românul nu era în stare de ebrietate.

Ziarele din Italia au scris ca Mailat fusese arestat în România în 1997 si mai fusese acuzat de furt, acum trei ani, episod dupa care fugise din tara. În Italia sosise acum patru luni.

Românca de etnie roma care l-a identificat si denuntat pe prezumptivul asasin a fost dusa de politie într-un loc sigur pentru a fi protejata.

Are 47 de ani, ca si victima, si se numeste Emilia.

În locul în care a avut loc atacul, la Tor di Quinto, au aparut joi buchete de crizanteme albe, probabil aduse de români.

Politia a decis sa elimine tabara abuziva de baraci din zona Tor di Quinto, în care traiesc 200 de persoane, majoritatea romi cetateni ai României.

Nu se stie ce se va întâmpla cu aceste persoane, probabil vor fi expulzate pe baza unui decret al Prefectului de Roma.

Reactii politice

Premierul italian Romano Prodi a cerut sprijinul opozitiei de centru-dreapta pentru a pune în aplicare imediat decretul de lege împotriva criminalitatii, aprobat miercuri seara la Roma de Consiliul de ministri reunit în sedinta extraordinara.

Premierul Prodi a adoptat masuri de urgenta împotriva delincventilor straini

Presedintele Republicii Italiene, Giorgio Napolitano, a semnat acest decret dupa 24 de ore. Acesta va intra în vigoare imediat dupa ce va fi publicat în Monitorul Oficial.

Dar, între timp, acest caz a devenit unul politic. Opozitia critica actualul guvern de centru-stânga si sustine ca acesta nu ar asigura securitatea cetatenilor.

A raspuns ministrul de interne, Giuliano Amato, care a spus ca în momentul intrarii României în Uniunea Europeana Italia avea un guvern de centru-dreapta, condus de Silvio Berlusconi, care nu a luat masuri împotriva "invaziei" românilor, asa cum au facut atunci alte guverne europene, care au decis un moratoriu împotriva intrarii românilor si a bulgarilor pe teritoriile lor.

De asemenea, Gianfranco Fini, liderul partidului de dreapta Alianta Nationala, a cerut demisia primarului Romei, Walter Veltroni.

Berlusconi calls for ban on Romanian workers

The Associated Press

Published: November 4, 2007

ROME: The opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi urged Italian officials to close the country's borders to Romanian workers, and a conservative ally called Sunday for the expulsion of tens of thousands of immigrants amid public outrage over a wave of violent crimes blamed on foreigners.

Pope Benedict XVI added his voice to the debate over the balance between citizen safety and treatment of foreigners, reminding the Italian authorities that immigrants have obligations - and rights. He weighed in as lawmakers prepared to debate the government's response to recent crime, including fast-track expulsions of Romanians and other EU citizens deemed dangerous, and bulldozing shantytowns that housed immigrants.

"In Rome alone, 20,000 expulsions should be carried out right away," the rightist leader Gianfranco Fini, a key Berlusconi ally, said on television Sunday. Berlusconi urged in the newspaper La Stampa that Italy enact a moratorium against the entry of Romanian workers. "If I were in the government, I would have done it," the former prime minister said.

Last week, the cabinet approved a decree giving the authorities the power to expel EU citizens with criminal records or those deemed dangerous to public safety. The decree needs approval in Parliament - where Prime Minister Romano Prodi's center-left coalition has a narrow majority - to remain in effect longer than a few months.

Berlusconi said he was weighing whether his conservative lawmakers should support the decree. Fini said his political forces would vote for it only if expulsions were expanded to include EU citizens without means of support.

In Bucharest, President Traian Basescu spoke out against the attacks in Italy and curbs on the rights of Romanians abroad. " I condemn any lawbreaking and any violent actions committed by a Romanian citizen in Romania as well as abroad," Basescu said. He also condemned "any acts of violence aimed against Romanian citizens as well as any speech that incites people to disrespect the civil rights of Romanian citizens regardless of where they are in the EU."

Basescu also criticized moves clearing the way for the expulsion of EU citizens. "Improvised measures that induce fear and awaken hatred can be unjust and can have other effects than those hoped," he said.

The Italian authorities have said statistics show that foreigners commit a disproportionate number of crimes in Italy, and the mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, said that 75 percent of arrests in the city in the last year involved Romanians.

Romanians have been detained as suspects in several recent high-profile crimes, including the rape of a woman on church steps in northern Italy, a mugging that left a Rome cyclist in a coma for weeks before he died and the robbery of a Milan coffee bar in which the elderly owner was beaten and her daughter raped. Other crimes in which foreigners are suspected include the mugging of the film director Giuseppe Tornatore, the holdup of a TV anchor and the mugging of a Rome municipal commissioner.

The wave of attacks has set off a backlash against foreigners. The police sought several Italians who, with clubs and knives, wounded three Romanians in a Rome parking lot Friday night.

Italy gov't passes measure allowing expulsion of EU citizens if public security threatened

The Associated Press

Published: October 31, 2007

ROME: Italy's Cabinet passed measures Wednesday allowing authorities to expel European Union citizens who pose a threat to public security.

The decision, made during an emergency Cabinet meeting, came in response to an outcry over a series of crimes that have been reported recently and attributed to immigrants, mostly Romanian.

In the latest episode, a 47-year-old woman was reportedly raped, beaten and thrown into a ditch in Rome; a Romanian has been arrested but the woman is in a coma, according to Italian media reports Wednesday.

"We are not acting out of rage but we are determined to keep a high and just level of security for our citizens," Premier Romano Prodi told reporters after the brief Cabinet meeting.

Italian officials have said for weeks that they were looking at ways to deal with EU citizens who are allowed to travel freely in Italy and choose to commit crimes.

Romania joined the EU in January, along with Bulgaria. Prodi said Wednesday that he has talked to his Romanian counterpart to discuss possible joint actions.

In recent years, Italy's Interior Ministry has expelled people suspected of international terrorism, including imams at Muslim mosques accused of being threats to public security because of their extremist views.

But the measure passed Wednesday extends the use of expulsion orders to EU citizens accused of more petty crimes - and allows local authorities, such as city prefects, to make the decision in most cases.

The measure enters into force immediately. But it must be approved by parliament within 60 days to remain in effect.

Residents flee camps amid Italian crackdown on foreigners

The Associated Press

Published: November 1, 2007

ROME: Dozens of immigrants were fleeing their shantytown homes on the outskirts of Rome Friday after a string of attacks blamed on foreigners prompted authorities to crack down on camps inhabited mainly by Gypsies.

Carrying their belongings in bundles and plastic bags, and sometimes atop bicycles, residents left a camp on the northern edges of the capital where police arrested a Romanian accused in the savage beating of an Italian woman near the camp who died Thursday after two days in a coma.

The victim, the 47-year-old wife an Italian navy commander, was set upon as she walked along a road after dark Tuesday toward the barracks where she lives, police said. She was beaten in the face, dragged through mud and left bloody and half naked in a ditch, police said.

Outside the camp in the Tor di Quinto neighborhood, police and bulldozers waited for the order to raze the illegal settlement while most residents abandoned the area, fearing they would be rounded up and expelled.

The attack on the woman prompted Premier Romano Prodi's center-left Cabinet to give authorities the power to expel European Union citizens "for reasons of public safety."

Prodi in a condolence message to the husband on Friday said the killing had "had wounded the soul of all Italians."

The suspect in the murder case, a Romanian in his 20s identified as Nicolae Mailat, lived in the Tor di Quinto camp, one of several sprawling settlements where thousands of residents - some legal, some not - live in hovels or trailers.

Many are from Romania, which joined the European Union earlier this year, or the former Yugoslavia.

Police also raided a shantytown along the Tiber River, checking papers and seizing piles of brand-new electronic appliances, which they indicated were stolen. About 20 people were taken away on police buses to face possible expulsion procedures as bulldozers began tearing down their shacks.

"With these illegal settlements we can have acts of violence and a concentration of people with bad intentions," said Raffaele di Clemente, a police official leading the raid.

Police have said dozens more shacks would be knocked down and many more people expelled as part of the crackdown.

Romania's premier told Italian state TV Thursday night that he backed Rome's crackdown. Violent Romanians "will be sent back home without hesitation," Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said in the TV interview.

Authorities in recent months have blamed Romanians for a series of violent crimes in Rome.

Oscar-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore was hospitalized over the summer when he was punched in the jaw by a mugger in an upscale neighborhood.

Although the free movement of EU citizens within the 27 member nations is a cornerstone of EU policy, countries still have the right to keep dangerous people out.

During major sporting events like the World Cup, for example, suspected hooligans from other EU nations can be denied entry or expelled.

Opinion polls have showed that Prodi's popularity is low and that citizens are linking violent crime to immigrants.

The right-wing opposition has used the violence to lambast leftist politicians, particularly Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni.

Milan starts expelling Romanians; 3 hurt in Rome anti-Romanian attack

The Associated Press

Published: November 3, 2007

ROME: Milan began deporting Romanians with criminal records, authorities said Saturday, after a wave of violent crime blamed on swelling numbers of immigrants from one of the European Union's newest and poorest members.

Romania warned against xenophobia in Italy after a mob of eight to 10 people wielding knives and metal bars set upon a handful of Romanians in a Rome parking lot Friday night and wounded three of them - one seriously.

"We should fight against the wave of xenophobia that is manifesting itself in Italy and we must fight against the bad image that Romanians who are working in Italy have," Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said Saturday.

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema decried the mob attack on the Romanians, "calling it gang aggression unworthy of our country," according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Milan authorities said that four Romanians with criminal records were put on an Alitalia flight to Bucharest on Friday night, and that expulsions for 12 other Romanians had been authorized.

They were the first reported expulsions since Premier Romano Prodi's center-left government, faced with growing public anger over violent crime blamed on Romanians, approved a decree Wednesday night that empowered authorities to expel European Union citizens who are deemed a danger to public safety.

Of the three Romanians injured in Friday's attack, one was in serious condition with head wounds, said paramilitary Carabinieri police officer Agostino Vitolo.

The head of the Rome-based Association of Romanians in Italy denounced the beating by the mob as a "criminal attack."

"The Romanian community is living through a nightmare," association president Eugen Terteleac said in a telephone interview. He claimed media had created a "climate of uncertainty and alarm," although he said he welcomed the expulsions as long as government power "isn't abused."

A top Milan security official, Prefect Gianvalerio Lombardi, acknowledged that there was a risk that the government's crackdown on immigrants could inspire violence like the mob attack.

"There could be this danger, but it is clear we have to send a very clear message" that crime by immigrants won't be tolerated, Lombardi told Sky TG24 TV.

The savage, fatal beating of an Italian woman, the wife of a top navy commander, near a Gypsy camp on Rome's outskirts earlier this week increased pressure on authorities to crack down on immigrants, especially Romanians who have poured into Italy since the start of the year, when their homeland joined the EU. A young Romanian man who lived in the camp was arrested in connection with the attack.

Romanians, who number some 560,000 in Italy, or roughly 1 percent of Italy's population, lead the statistics for murders, home robberies and sexual violence among crimes by immigrants, officials say. Many Romanians have taken jobs as bricklayers, maids and janitors since Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.

Romanians have been involved in several sensational crimes this year in a country where street violence is generally rare.

A Roman woman died after being stabbed in the eye with an umbrella wielded by a Romanian woman in Rome's subway. Three Romanians were arrested in the mugging of Oscar-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore in Rome. A man cycling in Rome died in a coma from a beating by suspected Romanian muggers.

In a northern Italy, a young Romanian man was arrested last month as a suspect in the rape of a woman on the steps of a church. In Milan, the 75-year-old owner of a coffee bar in Milan was beaten and her daughter raped behind the counter during a robbery. Four Romanians were arrested in the case.

Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu called the expulsions a gesture to "lessen tensions" in Italy. "Like in any democratic country, Italy has to be sensitive to public opinion," Cioroianu said, insisting that Italian authorities must take measures so that "xenophobic acts" like the mob beating do not happen again.

Erica Alini and Alessandra Lanzi in Rome contributed to this report.

Pope calls for respect for immigrants' rights; Italian lawmaker wants 'thousands' expelled

The Associated Press

Published: November 3, 2007

ROME: Opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi urged Italy to close its borders to Romanian workers and a conservative ally called for the expulsion of tens of thousands of immigrants as the nation grappled Sunday with public outrage over a wave of violent crimes blamed on foreigners.

Pope Benedict XVI added his moral voice to the debate over the balance between citizen safety and treatment of foreigners by reminding authorities that immigrants have obligations - and rights.

The Vatican wields considerable political influence in Italy, and the pope weighed in as lawmakers prepared to debate the government's response, which includes fast-track expulsions of Romanians and other EU citizens deemed dangerous, as well bulldozing shantytowns housing thousands of immigrants.

"In Rome alone, 20,000 expulsions should be carried out right away," right-wing leader Gianfranco Fini, a key Berlusconi ally and a potential contender in the next election for premier, said on a TV talk show.

Berlusconi told La Stampa newspaper that Italy should enact a moratorium against Romanian workers. "If I were in the government, I would have done it," the billionaire media mogul and former premier was quoted as saying.

Armed with a government decree approved in an emergency Cabinet session on Oct. 31, authorities across Italy have begun expelling or readying expulsion orders for European Union citizens with criminal records or those deemed dangerous to public safety.

To remain in force more than a few months, the decree requires approval in Parliament, where Premier Romano Prodi's center-left forces have a narrow and sometime unreliable majority.

Fini said his forces would vote for it only if expulsions were expanded to include Romanians and other EU citizens without the means to support themselves.

Police on Sunday searched for several Italians who, with clubs and knives, wounded three Romanians in a Rome parking lot on Friday night.

In Bucharest, Romanian's prime minister, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, summoned top Cabinet ministers Sunday to discuss the issue and spoke to Prodi by telephone.

Tariceanu's office said he would travel to Rome later this week. "He called on Prodi to undertake measures to protect Romanian citizens in Italy who are honest workers," his office said. Tariceanu "was worried about xenophic acts."

Romanian's president, Traian Basescu, appealed to Romanian and Italian politicians to "refrain from making statements that could make the situation more tense."

"We support any criminal being punished, but we can't agree with the humiliation of millions of Romanians" to suit Italian political purposes, Basescu said in a special address from the presidential palace.

Italian authorities say statistics show foreigners commit a disproportionate number of crimes in Italy, and Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said 75 percent of arrests in the city in the last year involved Romanians.

On the national level, figures from Italy's statistics bureau found that, while less than 5 percent of the population in 2004 were foreigners, foreigners accounted for 26 percent of all those convicted, although the report cautioned that immigrants were less likely to obtain adequate legal defense.

Romanians have been detained as suspects in several recent crimes, including the rape of a woman on church steps in northern Italy, a Tiber River bank mugging that left a Rome cyclist in a coma for weeks before he died and the robbery of a Milan coffee bar in which the elderly owner was beaten and her daughter raped.

The savage beating last week of the wife of an Italian naval commander triggered the decree calling for quick expulsions of some EU citizens after a Romanian was arrested in connection with the assault.

Amid the tensions, Pope Benedict offered his concern as he addressed pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.

Speaking about the relations between migrants and local populations, Benedict expressed hope that "those who deal with security and welcoming programs know how to use instruments aimed at guaranteeing the rights and duties that are at the foundations" of coexistence.

After Romania joined the EU this year, Romanians poured into Italy in search of work as maids, nannies, waiters, janitors and bricklayers, and they now account for nearly 1 percent of the population in Italy.

Carabinieri police said Sunday they arrested a 39-year-old Romanian woman who was a hired caretaker for an elderly person in Rome. The woman was wanted on an international warrant since 2006 because she was convicted in her homeland and sentenced to 15 years in prison for human trafficking. The woman, who had working papers in Italy, was jailed pending deportation under extradition arrangements, police said.

Associated Press writer Alison Mutler contributed to this report from Bucharest, Romania.

Berlusconi calls for ban on Romanian workers

The Associated Press

Published: November 4, 2007

ROME: The opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi urged Italian officials to close the country's borders to Romanian workers, and a conservative ally called Sunday for the expulsion of tens of thousands of immigrants amid public outrage over a wave of violent crimes blamed on foreigners.

Pope Benedict XVI added his voice to the debate over the balance between citizen safety and treatment of foreigners, reminding the Italian authorities that immigrants have obligations - and rights. He weighed in as lawmakers prepared to debate the government's response to recent crime, including fast-track expulsions of Romanians and other EU citizens deemed dangerous, and bulldozing shantytowns that housed immigrants.

"In Rome alone, 20,000 expulsions should be carried out right away," the rightist leader Gianfranco Fini, a key Berlusconi ally, said on television Sunday. Berlusconi urged in the newspaper La Stampa that Italy enact a moratorium against the entry of Romanian workers. "If I were in the government, I would have done it," the former prime minister said.

Last week, the cabinet approved a decree giving the authorities the power to expel EU citizens with criminal records or those deemed dangerous to public safety. The decree needs approval in Parliament - where Prime Minister Romano Prodi's center-left coalition has a narrow majority - to remain in effect longer than a few months.

Berlusconi said he was weighing whether his conservative lawmakers should support the decree. Fini said his political forces would vote for it only if expulsions were expanded to include EU citizens without means of support.

In Bucharest, President Traian Basescu spoke out against the attacks in Italy and curbs on the rights of Romanians abroad. " I condemn any lawbreaking and any violent actions committed by a Romanian citizen in Romania as well as abroad," Basescu said. He also condemned "any acts of violence aimed against Romanian citizens as well as any speech that incites people to disrespect the civil rights of Romanian citizens regardless of where they are in the EU."

Basescu also criticized moves clearing the way for the expulsion of EU citizens. "Improvised measures that induce fear and awaken hatred can be unjust and can have other effects than those hoped," he said.

The Italian authorities have said statistics show that foreigners commit a disproportionate number of crimes in Italy, and the mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, said that 75 percent of arrests in the city in the last year involved Romanians.

Romanians have been detained as suspects in several recent high-profile crimes, including the rape of a woman on church steps in northern Italy, a mugging that left a Rome cyclist in a coma for weeks before he died and the robbery of a Milan coffee bar in which the elderly owner was beaten and her daughter raped. Other crimes in which foreigners are suspected include the mugging of the film director Giuseppe Tornatore, the holdup of a TV anchor and the mugging of a Rome municipal commissioner.

The wave of attacks has set off a backlash against foreigners. The police sought several Italians who, with clubs and knives, wounded three Romanians in a Rome parking lot Friday night.

stampa chiudi

Il reportage

«Beveva, colpa di una donna»

A casa di Mailat l'assassino nella Transilvania più povera

AVRIG (Romania) - Elena Tincu, la madre di Nicolae, il romeno accusato dell'omicidio diGiovanna Reggiani, è tornata ad Avrig, il suo paese in Romania. Non è un villaggio, è una bidonville. Nei punti più alti il fango nelle strade arriva sopra il ginocchio. Quasi 300 case, che sembrano tutte uguali.

Il primogenito è annegato mentre guadava il fiume a cavallo, i due gemelli cerebrolesi sono ricoverati in qualche manicomio, un'altra figlia è stata ammazzata a coltellate dal fidanzato geloso, la piccola Ionela cova una broncopolmonite, Nicolae rimarrà in Italia per sempre, ha ucciso una donna. Ma quello che colpisce sono la sigaretta accesa e il sorriso di Elena Tincu.

La madre del romeno accusato di avere ucciso Giovanna Reggiani è tornata ad Avrig. È una donna di età indefinibile, sdentata, con i capelli bianchi coperti da un foulard, il corpo avvolto da un cappotto sformato. Un furgone Mercedes ha appena depositato lei e i suoi bagagli davanti all'ultima casa del villaggio. Mentre aspetta che qualcuno le sfondi la porta della baracca dove abitava Nicolae, parla dei suoi nove figli come fossero conigli.

Fuma, e racconta tragedie, ma con un tono distratto, sembra che parli di semplici conoscenti, e non della sua carne. Dice che Mailat a Roma viveva con loro, ma in fondo «non lo conoscevo bene», ogni tanto veniva con lei a lavorare, ogni tanto restava a casa. Il tono si fa seccato. «Adesso - dice - dovremo fermarci qui per chissà quanto tempo, in Italia si sta meglio».

Un colpo d'ascia abbatte la porta. Elena e il suo compagno Cornel prendono possesso della casa di Nicolae, e la circostanza non sembra suscitare in loro nessuna impressione particolare. «Tanto lui non tornerà più» dice l'uomo. All'interno, in un unico ambiente di pochi metri quadri ci sono due brandine sfatte, ai muri qualche immaginetta sacra, foto di ragazze e bambini. Nessun gabinetto. È una baracca di legno e terra impastati, appoggiata su una base di cemento. Davanti, c'è un fiume che adesso sembra un rigagnolo, quello dove è annegato suo fratello.

Non è un villaggio, è una bidonville. Nei punti più alti il fango nelle strade arriva fin sopra il ginocchio. Le case sono quasi trecento e sembrano tutte uguali. «Bordeje», le chiamano, termine che indica quando un oggetto si trova in uno stato miserabile. Assi e placche di metallo accatastate, terra secca al posto del cemento. Le abitazioni sono recintate con pali di legno, nei cortili ci sono cumuli di ferro, panni stesi ad asciugare, bimbi che giocano nel fango, le famiglie messe meglio si riconoscono perché hanno un cavallo chiuso in una stalla costruita con più cura delle abitazioni riservate agli umani.

Elena è cresciuta qui, tornandoci dopo essere stata lasciata dal padre di Nicolae, che lui non ha mai conosciuto. Elena, i suoi figli e gli altri che adesso fanno la fila per salutarla sono paria tra i paria. Zingari tra gli altri zingari. Avrig è una anonima città di quindicimila abitanti al confine tra la regione di Sibiu e la Transilvania. Ai tempi di Ceausescu aveva un soprannome impegnativo, «la piccola Murano». Era per via della fabbrica di vetro che attirava contadini desiderosi di trasformarsi in operai. Appena dopo l'ingresso di Avrig, la fabbrica adesso sembra un gigantesco sudario impolverato. È stata chiusa all'inizio degli anni Novanta. Gli operai se ne sono usciti da Avrig, i Rom vi hanno fatto ingresso, prendendosi le case abbandonate. Nel tempo, gli abitanti di Avrig hanno operato una specie di selezione naturale. I Rom «ricchi», quelli che si sono specializzati nella lavorazione della bigiotteria e dell'oro, sono rimasti nelle case ai bordi del paese. Gli altri sono finiti sul fiume, oltre le strade sterrate, in baracche senza luce, gas e acqua.

La mamma di Nicolae racconta di aver lavorato «nel commercio del ferro», e in qualche modo è vero. Anche suo figlio faceva lo stesso, tre anni fa era stato arrestato a Costanza, sul mar Nero, dall'altra parte della Romania. Lo avevano condannato a tre anni, ma poi lo avevano messo fuori, giudicandolo non pericoloso. Era tornato ad Avrig. Qui tutti si guadagnano da vivere rubando ferro che poi rivendono per pochi centesimi al quintale. E molti ammettono di fare lo stesso quando vanno all'estero. «Adesso non potrò più rubare in Italia» urla uno degli uomini che circondano la baracca di Nicolae. C'è tanta rabbia contro il nostro Paese, ed è l'unica cosa che in questo momento accomuna i romeni e i Rom.

Una ragazza che indossa la felpa dei Los Angeles Lakers urla e tira calci alle auto parcheggiate sul sentiero. «Fate più schifo di noi, venite a Bucarest solo per scoparvi le ragazzine e adesso pretendete di darci lezioni». Le notizie, Mutu fischiato, le dichiarazioni dei nostri politici, persino le marce e le ronde annunciate dai fascisti di Forza Nuova, arrivano subito anche in questa gola sperduta che ha i Carpazi all'orizzonte. «Nicolae è andato a scuola tre o quattro anni, ma non ha finito le primarie. Da ragazzo portava il bestiame, e amava ballare la nostra musica». Stefane Hunzau è lo zio di Nicolae, e gli assomiglia pure, stessa espressione, stessi baffi e capelli crespi. È appena tornato da Roma, viveva in un campo nomadi vicino al cimitero di Prima Porta, faceva il muratore. Adesso accudisce il cavallo del padre, pulisce il cortile dalla cacca dei cani. «Addio per sempre, mi sa. Se hanno insultato Mutu, che è un Dio, a me, che sono nessuno, mi ammazzano».

Dice di non sapere cosa è successo a Nicolae. Si vedevano, ma non tanto. Stefane si alzava alle 4 per andare al cantiere, lui invece non lavorava, era difficile trovarsi. In questo mondo, la colpa è sempre di una donna. Dicono che Nicolae fosse pazzo di Aurica, una ragazza madre che prima di lui era stata fidanzata con zio Stefane e con il fratello del suo patrigno Cornel. Era andato con lei in Italia, ma ad agosto la donna aveva preso la sua bambina ed era tornata indietro. A ottobre qualcuno al villaggio lo ha chiamato dicendogli che Aurica aveva trovato compagnia. Lui è tornato indietro, si è presentato ad Arpas, il villaggio della donna, ma non è riuscito a convincerla. Ha dormito un paio di notti ad Avrig, e tre settimane fa è tornato a Roma, da solo. «Da allora - dice Elena - ha cominciato a bere sempre di più e si è lasciato andare».

La madre punta il dito, gli altri annuiscono. Il villaggio sa, il villaggio giudica. È un organismo che nella sua miseria basta a se stesso. Due anni fa, quando il sindaco decise di assumere alcuni assistenti sociali di etnia Rom per migliorare la vita di questa comunità di 500 persone, i «bulibasha», gli anziani, imposero i loro familiari, ordinando loro di non fare nulla. Tutto deve rimanere com'è, fermo. I paria di Avrig vivono in una dimensione parallela e immota, in un passato fatto di carri trainati dai cavalli, di strade fangose, di fuochi accesi al tramonto. Il nonno di Nicolae, che si chiama anche lui Stefane, come il figlio, dice che è da molto tempo ormai che non ci sono feste tzigane e matrimoni in costume. «Questa è una stazione dalla quale si arriva e si parte, certi che ovunque si vada sarà sempre meglio del posto che si sta lasciando». E la madre di Nicolae, la sua voglia di ripartire subito e l'ennesimo figlio perduto come si perdono le chiavi di casa, una cosa normale, al massimo una seccatura, in qualche modo rappresentano questa vita così degradata.

Elena entra nella baracca con fare svogliato. Non è la stanchezza, anche se ha viaggiato per un giorno e mezzo. «Siamo andati via per paura. Gli italiani ci dicevano che a morte segue un'altra morte, io e Cornel ci siamo spaventati». Il fatto che il suo Nicolae sia stato la scintilla che rischia di provocare un incendio, e che abbia ucciso un altro essere umano, non la colpisce più di tanto. «Non posso farci niente. Da quando l'hanno arrestato non l'ho più rivisto, spero che stia bene. Non si sa mai che cosa può succedere». E alza le spalle, chiedendo che qualcuno le porti un caffè.

stampa | chiudi

Marco Imarisio

5 noiembrie 2007

The Wall Street Journal critica Italia si o compara cu Rusia si Zimbabwe

Marti 06 noiembrie 2007, 12:27

Cotidianul american The Wall Street Journal comenteaza în termeni duri decretul de expulzare emis de guvernul de la Roma. Italia este comparata cu regimuri autoritare precum cel al lui Vladimir Putin sau al lui Robert Mugabe.

"Deportari în masa ale unei minoritati dispretuite, darâmarea taberelor de carton în care locuieste si un tap ispasitor etnic în scopuri politice. De data aceasta nu vorbim despre Rusia lui Vladimir Putin sau despre statul Zimbabwe al lui Robert Mugabe, ci despre Italia zilelor noastre", se arata în articolul intitulat "Roma si românii". Dupa confruntarea cu o serie de crime violente comise de români, guvernul italian este nerabdator sa faca ceva. Criminalii merita sa fie pedepsiti. Dar discursul exagerat de dur al politicienilor despre deportarea a zeci de mii de cetateni europeni este o încercare regretabila de a stârni si mai mult valul de sentimente anti-imigranti care se ridica în întreaga Europa, scrie autorul articolului din The Wall Street Journal.

Sursa: Realitatea TV


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