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ITALY16 August 2002

Journalist released but placed under house arrest over articles in 1960s

A Milan judge ordered Stefano Surace’s release on 16 August because of his age and state of health, but placed him under house arrest at his daughter’s home in Naples. He left prison the same day. The authorities are still pressing the charges against him, but his lawyer, Vitorio Trupiano, is about to file a request for the annulment of his arrest.


12.08.2002 - Journalist imprisoned over articles in 1960s

image 110 x 119 (JPEG)  Reporters Without Borders expressed its outrage over the imprisonment of former journalist Stefano Surace (photo), 69, for supposed press crimes committed more than 30 years ago.

The case is "doubly scandalous", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. "To sentence journalists to imprisonment for press crimes is contrary to UN standards, but it is unworthy of a democratic country to jail an elderly man who has not been a journalist for years for crimes that should be subject to limitation by lapse of time and which would nowadays not even be the subject of prosecution," he said. "We call on you to intervene and pardon Stefano Surace so that he can be released", the letter added. "We also call for the removal of prison sentences for press crimes from Italian law, as recommended by the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression."

Surace, who edited the nonconformist publication Le Ore during the 1960s, has been incarcerated since December 2001 in Opera prison near Milan, where he is serving a sentence of two years, six months and 12 days stemming from convictions for libel and obscenity handed down in 1963 and 1967. A resident of France for almost 40 years, he was arrested when he went to visit a friend in Italy.

He was known for his investigations into prison life and, while still a journalist, had founded an association of former detainees. He had ceased to work as a journalist before these convictions and had become a ju-jitsu teacher.




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