Immigrants deported, Algiers complains with Rome

Italian ambassador summoned, 'unacceptable and humiliating'

23 April, 11:49

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 23 - Algeria has complained with Italy over the treatment of two of its nationals deported last week on an Alitalia Rome-Tunis flight, the photos of which - showing the men with scotch tape over their mouths - went viral on the web and sparked a great deal of heated debate in Italy as well. The Algerian Foreign Minister has today summoned the Italian ambassador to the country, Michele Giacomelli, to ''protest vehemently on behalf of the Algerian authorities'' against the treatment which Algiers called (according to the Algerian foreign ministry spokesman) ''violent, humiliating and unacceptable''. The incident - with the two seated in the last row of the plane with plastic handcuffs on, mouths taped shut with packaging tape and a protective mask lowered over their faces - is one which Rome has already announced that it will be looking into thoroughly. This was reiterated yesterday by the Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who wrote to the Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni - who had expressed ''profound consternation'' over the case - saying that the Italian government has already opened an administrative investigation into the matter and that the magistrature began a judicial one. This was in line with what had been said by Interior, Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri, who in reporting before the Chamber of Deputies on the events said that the use of ''coercive measures'' such as scotch tape on mouths was an ''extemporaneous'' behaviour, and above all one that is ''offensive to personal dignity''. ''It is entirely in the police's interest'' to make sure that light is shed on the case in all of its aspects, said the head of the interior ministry in announcing that an inquiry would take place.

    It is a matter that the Algerian government has now asked to know more about, calling Ambassador Giacomelli to the foreign ministry, where he met with the Secretary of State for the National Community Living Abroad, Benattallah Halim. Reporting this was the spokesman for the Algerian ministry himself, saying that during the meeting ''protest'' had been expressed over the treatment suffered ''by two of our fellow countrymen'', treatment called ''violent, humiliating and inacceptable'', and that ambassador had been urged to ''convey to the Italian authorities'' Algiers' position while awaiting ''clarification''. (ANSAmed).

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