Italian police deny Amnesty charge of ‘migrant torture’

Italian police on Thursday bluntly rejected a report by Amnesty International that they used beatings and electric shocks, potentially constituting 'torture', on migrants.

Italian police deny Amnesty charge of 'migrant torture'
File photo of rescued migrants en route to Italy. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

“I categorically deny that violent methods were used against migrants, either during their identification process or repatriation,” Police Chief Franco Gabrielli said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Amnesty said Italian police had abused migrants in a bid to meet tougher requirements on expulsions and on processing arrivals.

Of the 24 reports of ill-treatment Amnesty gathered, 16 involved beatings. In several cases, people also said they had been given electric shocks with stun batons, including a 16-year-old boy from Sudan.

“In their determination to reduce the onward movement of refugees and migrants to other member states, EU leaders have driven the Italian authorities to the limits – and beyond – of what is legal,” said Matteo de Bellis, Amnesty International's Italy Researcher.