Guards suspended over Facebook suicide mock

Guards suspended over Facebook suicide mock
The messages were posted on a Facebook page attributed to the Italian prison guard union, Alsippe. Screen grab: Facebook
Sixteen prison guards working at a prison in Milan have been suspended for allegedly posting offensive messages on a Facebook page about a Romanian inmate who committed suicide.

The comments were made in relation to the suicide of 39-year-old Ioan Gabriel Barbuta, a Romanian inmate who had been serving a life sentence at the Opera prison in Milan since June 2013.

A probe was launched and the 16 guards will now face discplinary proceedings, Santi Consolo, the head of the DAP, the Department of Prison Administration, was quoted by Tgcom24 as saying.

The posts, which were removed, included: “One less Romanian”, “I hope he suffered” and “let’s leave more ropes out”. Another reads: "He died but how much do you want to bet that the judge will investigate who was on duty? Remember that they are nasty to us."

The disciplinary action followed talks between Santi and Italy’s Justice Minister Andrea Orlando on Thursday.

Santi said the prison was “mortified” by what had happened.

Orlando said prison guards everyday are committed to preventing suicides and acts of self-harm among inmates, as well as “humanizing” prisons.

Among the initiatives discussed with the DAP would be to train prison guards on the use of social networking sites. 

Alsippe union representatives have also expressed their “profound irritation” at the posts.

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