[Global Times Special Correspondent Xie Yahong in Italy, Global Times Special Correspondent Liu Haoran] Recently, organized violent protests have been staged frequently in Italy, and even Italian diplomatic missions in many countries are facing serious personal threats.

On January 31, Italian Foreign Minister Tajani said that the Italian government has strengthened the security measures of its diplomatic missions around the world in response to escalating terrorist attacks.

The reason for this series of violent protests is related to the "Prison Law" in Italy. Alfredo Cospito, a provocative anarchist in the country, has been on hunger strike for hundreds of years in order to fight against this "draconian law" while serving his sentence. On the 1st, its extreme protest methods continued to stimulate the fanaticism of its supporters.

Diplomats Receive Bullet Threat Letters

  According to a Reuters report on February 1, since late January, Milan, Rome, Trento and other places have successively staged street violence. Many vehicles were burned on the street, and a Molotov cocktail was even thrown at a police station in Rome.

What's more serious is that extreme protesters also frequently harass and threaten officials stationed abroad. Italian diplomats stationed in Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Argentina have all been harassed and threatened to varying degrees. Then came the threatening letter loaded with bullets, which demanded that the Italian government "release Cospito".

Among the victims, the car of Schlein, an Italian diplomat in Athens, was destroyed by a petrol bomb, and the car of Estero, an Italian diplomat in Berlin, was set on fire.

The windows of the Italian Consulate General in Barcelona were also smashed.

  On January 29 local time, the Italian government strongly condemned the recent series of extreme protests and violent attacks at home and abroad.

The statement stated: "Acts like this cannot intimidate government agencies, and the country will not compromise to those who threaten violence." All embassies and consulates abroad have upgraded their security measures.

  The trend of anarchism has far-reaching influence in Italy. Bakunin, one of the famous founders of anarchism, had been active in Italy for a long time. The play "The Accidental Death of an Anarchist" is also famous all over the world.

At present, groups such as the Anarchist Federation still promote related thoughts in Italy.

The "Instigator" Hunger Strikes for Hundred Days in Prison

  Alfredo Cospito, 55, is an Italian far-left anarchist who was terrorized in 2006 when he and accomplices tried to attack a gendarmerie school in Cuneo province with two homemade bombs He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of bail.

At the beginning of his sentence, Cospito kept in touch with the outside world for a long time, and also published articles and speeches on some radical media platforms, and was finally "silenced" in May last year.

Prison officials kept him in solitary confinement and cut him off from the outside world.

  The harsh measures taken by the prison authorities against Cospito are based on Article 41 of the country's "Prison Management Law", which allows the prison administration to strictly restrict the personal freedom of prisoners in custody.

Under Article 41, prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for an average of 22 hours a day and can only see visitors for one hour a month.

Even their participation in group activities and rehabilitation programs in prisons is strictly limited.

  The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stated that "Article 41" used to mainly target the vicious mafia leaders, aiming to cut off the communication and command mechanisms of such organizations.

Because the mafia bosses in Italy once had all-hands-eyes, some people could still command their subordinates to stir up trouble even while serving their sentences, and even retaliated wantonly and killed Italian officials.

In recent years, the scope of application of "Article 41" has gradually been broadened to apply to most mafia elements, terrorists, and subversive elements that threaten national security and social order.

  In order to fight against "Article 41", Cospito started a hunger strike on October 20 last year. Up to now, he has been on a hunger strike for more than 100 days and lost 40 kilograms.

Due to his excessive weakness, he broke his nose while taking a shower last month. He has been urgently transferred from his prison in Sardinia, Italy, to a prison with better medical conditions in Milan for recuperation.

The controversial "Article 41"

  In fact, the hunger strike was not Cospito's first initiative.

In 2002, a collective hunger strike broke out in a prison in northern Italy, where the criminal mafia leader Salvatore Rina, nicknamed "The Beast", was being held.

In addition to the hunger strike, the mafia detainees kept banging on the metal fence to make noise.

This wave quickly spread to three other high-level prisons, with a total of about 300 participants, all of whom had mafia backgrounds.

  "Article 41" has always been controversial in the Italian legal circle and the international community, and many legal experts call it "medieval punishment".

For example, the BBC said that Italian far-left terrorist Leos was bound by "Article 41" for 20 years while serving his sentence. He spent an average of 15 hours of communication with the outside world every year, and his mental state was seriously affected.

In the end, Leos was almost speechless when facing relatives visiting the prison, and the conversation with his mother could only last a few minutes.

  In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights held that "Article 41" violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

That same year, a U.S. court refused to extradite a Mafia drug dealer to Italy on the grounds that he risked "Article 41" torture if sentenced in Italy.

  (Source: Global Times)