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Alfredo Cospito: Hunger-striking Italian anarchist moved amid protests

Demonstrators in front of the Court of Cassation hold up a banner during a demonstration by anarchists protesting against the 41-bis regime for Alfredo Cospito, an insurrectionist anarchist convicted of terrorist offences on January 25, 2023 in Rome, Italy.Getty Images

A convicted Italian anarchist who has been on hunger strike for weeks has been moved to a jail in Milan amid growing fears his health is worsening.

Supporters of Alfredo Cospito, 55, have torched cars and threatened officials in protest at his jail conditions.

Cospito has been refusing food for more than 100 days.

The new restrictions, usually reserved for mafia bosses, include one monitored visit from family members and one telephone call a month.

The aim of the measures, known as 41bis after an article of the Italian criminal code, is to sever links between inmates said to be able to command and order criminal acts from behind bars.

Cospito is serving two jail sentences – 10 years for a gun attack on the CEO of a nuclear engineering company in Genoa in 2012 and 20 years in prison for bomb attacks against a Carabinieri police school in Fossano, masterminded whilst in prison. His partner is also serving time.

He was moved on Monday from a prison in Sardinia to Milan’s Opera prison – a facility for inmates who need critical medical care. He has lost more than 40kg (6.2 stone) during the course of his hunger strike but the government has refused to lift the terms of his imprisonment.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said her government will not be intimidated by the threats of violence.

Justice Minister Carlo Nordio said on Tuesday that the wave of violence and vandalism in recent days proved a link continued to exist between Cospito and other anarchists and “that would tend to justify maintaining the 41 bis”.

Protests against his incarceration have included attacks against Italian diplomats in Germany, Spain and Greece as well as in South America. Threatening letters containing bullets have been sent to officials.

In the most serious attack targeted the car of senior diplomat Susanna Schlein was destroyed by a petrol bomb in Athens in early December.

Several cars were set alight in Rome and Milan in further incidents on Monday night.

Cospito’s case is due to be heard by Italy’s highest court in March.

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