Jailed Italian anarchist leader enters 100th day of hunger strike
Nordio said Cospito was placed under the "41 bis" regime in May, after he sent out messages from prison calling on fellow anarchists to continue their armed struggle. Cospito is also protesting against a prosecutors' request to extend his sentence for the bomb attacks from 20 years to a life term, with no parole possibilities.
Alfredo Cospito, an Italian anarchist leader jailed under strict isolation, entered the 100th day of a hunger strike on Friday, as warnings multiplied that his life is at risk. The 55-year-old is protesting against being held under the tough "41 bis" regime, normally reserved for top Mafia bosses like the recently arrested Matteo Messina Denaro.
The regime involves solitary confinement to prevent inmates from communicating with affiliates. Prisoners are held in small cells with video surveillance in operation at all times. Cospito is serving time for a non-fatal shooting of a nuclear energy manager in 2012 and a double bomb attack on a police academy in 2016, which caused no injuries.
Until the beginning of January, he was surviving on drinking water and supplements, but he stopped taking them. He is now living on water, sugar and honey. The national ombudsman for prisoners, Mauro Palma, said Cospito "urgently" needs to be moved out of his prison in Sardinia as it lacks adequate healthcare facilities.
Palma said he "broke the silence" over the affair, after monitoring it for weeks, on the back of reports that the prisoner's health was worsening. On Thursday, Cospito's lawyer and doctor said he had lost more than 40 kg (88 lb) and had broken his nose and lost a lot of blood after a fall while showering.
The prisoner has trouble walking, uses a wheelchair and wears several pairs of trousers and jumpers to keep warm, doctor Angelica Milia said. "This man is dying," former lawmaker and human rights campaigner Luigi Manconi wrote in an op-ed on La Stampa newspaper, which called on Pope Francis to intervene.
Cospito has filed an appeal before Italy's top Cassazione court against his "41 bis" regime, and judges have set a March 7 date for the hearing. Initially, they had scheduled it for April 20, but the date was brought forward after Milia said her patient would be dead by then.
Two weeks ago, Justice Minister Carlo Nordio said in a statement that he was following the case "with the utmost attention". Nordio said Cospito was placed under the "41 bis" regime in May, after he sent out messages from prison calling on fellow anarchists to continue their armed struggle.
Cospito is also protesting against a prosecutors' request to extend his sentence for the bomb attacks from 20 years to a life term, with no parole possibilities. His case has attracted attention beyond Italy. Last month a Greek anarchist group owned up to an arson attack on an Italian diplomat's home, calling it an act of solidarity with Cospito.
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