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CRIME

Fifteen Italian prison officers probed for alleged torture

Fifteen prison officers in Italy are under investigation for allegedly torturing a Tunisian prisoner, Italian media said on Sunday.

Fifteen Italian prison officers probed for alleged torture
A guard in a prison in Sicily. File photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Prosecutors in Siena accuse the 15 of beating and humiliating a prisoner in the San Gimignano jail last year, the Repubblica daily said. Four of the officers were suspended last week after a months-long probe.

The case against them reportedly draws on surveillance footage and witness statements from other prisoners.

READ ALSO: The Netflix film shocking Italians with a true tale of suspected police brutality

Prison rights group Antigone said it was the first such case to be brought by prosecutors since torture was criminalised in 2017.

“Those who have seen abuse and violence must knock down the wall of silence” protecting perpetrators, the group's head Patrizio Gonnella said.

Unions warned in July that the situation at the San Gimignano jail was “explosive”, the Corriere della Sera daily said.

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ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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