Naples Attorneys Strike for Police Protection
NAPLES, Italy (AP) _ Nearly 5,000 lawyers in Naples have begun a week-long strike demanding increased protection for attorneys representing organized crime figures who have become police informers, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The strike stopped hundreds of trials that were in progress in this southern Italian city.
Maurizio De Tilla, secretary of the Order of Attorneys in Naples, said the strike was called ″because of the danger to our colleagues″ representing ″pentiti,″ the name Italians give to criminals who have turned state’s evidence. He said the lawyers are demanding police escorts for the attorneys defending those criminals.
The action followed the shooting death 10 days ago of Luciano Donzelli, the attorney for a former member of the organized crime group Camorra, Naples’ version of the Mafia.
″It appears that our colleague was assassinated by the Camorra,″ De Tilla said. The suspect Donzelli was defending reportedly was giving information to authorities about an August shooting in which six members of a Camorra faction were killed, he added.
A Rome newspaper, La Repubblica, said Donzelli’s murder was the eighth killing of an attorney dealing with cases involving Camorra members.
The strike has forced the delay until at least next Tuesday of the trial of more than 440 persons accused of association with the Camorra.
Those defendants are being tried in two seperate but simultaneous proceedings, and a trial for another 179 suspects is scheduled to begin April 11.
The striking lawyers are also protesting the ″crisis of justice″ in Naples, De Tilla said.
He said their grievances include a shortage of judges and courtrooms, the resulting wait of three to four years before a case goes to trial and the slow pace of trials once they start.