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Cablegate: Italian Rights Group Publicizes New Evidence Of

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 000923

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM OPRC PGOV IZ IT HUMAN RIGHTS
SUBJECT: ITALIAN RIGHTS GROUP PUBLICIZES NEW EVIDENCE OF
IRAQI BRUTALITY


1. SUMMARY: A PROMINENT ITALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 28 A NEW REPORT ON VIOLENCE COMMITTED
AGAINST POLITICAL OPPONENTS AND PRISONERS BY SADDAM HUSSEIN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 00923 061433Z
AND HIS REGIME. ITALIAN MEDIA PUBLISHED EXCERPTS, PROVIDING
ITALIANS SOME UNCOMFORTABLE (BUT TIMELY) REMINDERS OF THE
LIKELY CONSEQUENCES OF SADDAM'S CONTINUATION IN POWER. END
SUMMARY.

2. ON FEBRUARY 28, "HANDS OFF CAIN" (NESSUNO TOCCHI CAINO),
A HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ASSOCIATED WITH THE SMALL, INDEPENDENT
RADICAL PARTY, PRESENTED TO THE PRESS A NEW REPORT, "THE
DEATH PENALTY AND MORE UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN." (FULL TEXT
AVAILABLE AT WWW.HANDSOFFCAIN.ORG) THE ORGANIZATION'S
GENERAL SECRETARY, SERGIO D'ELIA, SAID THE GROUP WAS
PUBLISHING THE REPORT IN ADVANCE OF ITS ANNUAL GLOBAL SURVEY
OF THE DEATH PENALTY BECAUSE "AWARENESS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS
SITUATION - IN PARTICULAR THE WIDESPREAD USE OF THE DEATH
PENALTY - IS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT TO CONSIDER IN THE CURRENT
DEBATE ON THE IRAQ CRISIS." THOUGH IT FAVORS COMPLETE
ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY, THE GROUP GENERALLY PROVIDES
A SOPHISTICATED, NUANCED ANALYSIS OF ITS USE IN THE U.S.

3. THE TEXT CONTAINS A COLLECTION OF EPISODES ALREADY
GATHERED IN THE REPORTS ISSUED LAST YEAR BY THE BRITISH
GOVERNMENT AND BY THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND NEW
CIRCUMSTANCES OF VIOLENCE INFLICTED ON IRAQIS. THE CASES
PUBLISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITALY REGARD A LONG LIST OF
EXECUTIONS OF PRESUMPTIVE POLITICAL OPPONENTS AS WELL AS
MORE THAN TWENTY ARMY AND AIR FORCE OFFICERS CONDEMNED FOR
TREASON, MONITORED BY ARAB MEDIA AND BBC INTERNATIONAL.
HANDS OFF CAIN COUNTED 214 EXECUTIONS IN 2002 THROUGH
REPORTS BY VARIOUS IRAQI MEDIA AND OPPOSITION SOURCES. IN
2001, THE TOTAL WAS 179. THESE TOTALS DO NOT TAKE INTO
ACCOUNT UNCONFIRMED MASS EXECUTIONS REPORTED BY DISSIDENTS.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 00923 061433Z

4. THE REPORT ALSO HIGHLIGHTS NEW DEATH PENALTY PROVISIONS
ADDED IN THE MILITARY CRIMINAL CODE RELATED TO AIR DEFENSE
FORCE AND DISCLOSED BY THE IRAQI COMMUNIST PARTY. CAPITAL
PUNISHMENT COULD BE INFLICTED NOT ONLY FOR DAMAGING WEAPONS
AND MILITARY EQUIPMENT BUT ALSO FOR "REVEALING SECRETS AND
INFORMATION ON CASUALTIES TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE THEIR UNIT AND
THE SPREADING OF RUMORS WITHIN THEIR UNIT." THE VAGUENESS OF
THE REGULATIONS COULD LEAD TO OTHER ABUSES, HANDS OFF CAIN
EMPHASIZED.

5. AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE MFA UNDERSECRETARY MARGHERITA
BONIVER STATED THAT THE GOI WAS WILLING TO PLAY AN ACTIVE
ROLE IN ORDER TO STOP THE MASSACRE OF MANY INNOCENTS.
SEVERAL NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS AND TELEVISION NEWS COVERED THE
EVENT WITH ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS. HAND OFF CAIN IS ONE OF
ITALY'S MOST ACTIVE HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY GROUPS; IT HAS
PROMOTED INITIATIVES AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY AND IN FAVOR
OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT. IT WAS CREATED IN 1993
BY A GROUP OF ACTIVISTS OF THE RADICAL PARTY, A SMALL,
INDEPENDENT, CLASSICALLY LIBERAL PARTY FOUNDED BY MARCO
PANNELLA. THE RADICAL PARTY IS GENERALLY OPEN AND PRO-
AMERICAN IN ITS OUTLOOK.

6. COMMENT: WHILE THE GROUP'S REPORT IS UNLIKELY TO CAUSE
A SEA CHANGE IN ITALIAN PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT MILITARY
ACTION, IT IS A TIMELY REMINDER, NONETHELESS, OF THE
PROBLEMS INSIDE IRAQ ABOVE AND BEYOND THOSE OF WEAPONS OF
MASS DESTRUCTION.

SEMBLER
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 00923 061433Z

UNCLASSIFIED

>
2003ROME00923 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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