Passenger without Italy’s Covid green pass faces prison after delaying train

A passenger who failed to show a valid Covid-19 'green pass' for travel and refused to get off an interregional train now faces a possible jail sentence for delaying a public service.

Authorities removed a train passenger for travelling without a valid green pass.
Authorities removed a train passenger for travelling without a valid green pass. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Italy’s health ministry on Monday introduced new rules aimed at preventing passengers without a valid health certificate from disrupting and delaying long-distance train services, after reports of police having to remove people who refused to show a Covid-19 health certificate, called a ‘green pass’ in Italy.

In one recent case, a high-speed Italo train service on the Reggio Calabria-Milan line had to stop in Rome after a passenger failed to produce a valid document and refused to get off.

UPDATE: Italy tightens Covid green pass rules on public transport

Instead of showing a green pass, which has been a requirement for travel on all interregional trains since September 1st, the woman instead showed a photo of the result of a home test kit, as well as a self-certification form.

“I won’t get off,” the passenger said when asked to produce a valid health document, newspaper Corriere della Sera reports.

Following a quarrel with the conductor, Italian police were alerted to the dispute and the train stopped in Rome where the argument continued, stopping the train from departing for almost half an hour

Officers explained that the picture printed on a sheet of paper did not prove that the test was hers. Nor did it prove when the swab was taken.

Green passes can be released based on the results of PCR or rapid antigen swab tests conducted at pharmacies or by other medical professionals, but not based on the results of a home test kit.

Police told the passenger the photo of her home test result couldn’t replace a green pass and asked her to get off the train, in line with Covid health pass regulations.

The rules state that passengers without a valid pass can be moved to another part of the train before being asked to get off at the next stop.

READ ALSO: Where do you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy?

An inspector checks passengers boarding a high-speed “Frecciarossa” train for their green pass on September 1st, when it first became compulsory on interregional trains. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

After eventually agreeing to disembark, the passenger was fined for breaching the green pass rules and was subsequently reported for interruption of a public service.

This crossed the line into criminal law, with the passenger now facing charges for causing a delay to the train, with penalties including a potential prison sentence of up to one year.

The passenger’s lawyers have lodged an appeal with the Regional Administrative Tribunal to challenge both the penalty and the law as a whole.

The passenger reportedly said she believes the green pass system is illegitimate “from a constitutional point of view” and in conflict with European regulations and treaties.

For the time being, the Administrative Court has closed the matter, stating that they cannot consider a case’s “constitutional compatibility”.

READ ALSO: Is Italy likely to bring back Covid restrictions this Christmas?

The health ministry changed the Covid green pass rules on public transport on Monday in a bid to slow the recent sharp rise in infection rate before Christmas.

To help prevent such delays in future, train staff should now verify passengers’ health passes before boarding and not after during ticket inspections, as has been the practice so far.

The checks will reportedly be carried out “where possible”, including at major train stations with ticket barriers such as Rome Termini and Florence Santa Maria Novella.

The rules apply to long-distance and interregional train passengers, but not to those taking local services.

As well as those who fail to show a green pass, new rules state that railway police and local health authorities can stop any train on which passengers are found to “present symptoms attributable to the coronavirus” and the train company will need to “sanitise the train before putting it back into operation”.

Italy’s green pass is a requirement at workplaces, indoor restaurants and leisure venues as well as on long-distance public transport.

Only those who are vaccinated, recovered, or have tested negative, either with a PCR test or a rapid (antigenic) swab test can access it.

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New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”


Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”