Torture forced Corallo to repeal his appeal, lawyer Sulvaran says

PHILIPSBURG–Francesco Corallo’s legal team is of the opinion that he has been “tortured” by the judicial authorities and “forced” to repeal his appeal with the High Court in The Hague against his extradition to Italy.

Due to his age and vulnerable health situation Corallo could no longer endure the “torture” and was forced to choose for his own wellbeing, his lawyer Eldon “Peppie” Sulvaran said in a reaction.

Sulvaran referred to a 2015 report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, which was very critical of the police cells, in which Corallo has been detained for more than seven months already.

“The internationally acknowledged CPT has indicated that no man should be allowed to be detained in these cells for more than three days, and in any case no longer than ten days. Corallo has already been detained in these cells for 224 days, and still counting. Also in 2017, the detention situation has not improved.”

Sulvaran says that Article 3 of the European Human Rights Treaty forbids human torture. “That also goes for magistrates,” the lawyer said “The ban is also applicable to inhuman detention circumstances.”

Corallo is detained in a smelly cell complex due to leaking sewage. The cells are practically dark, depressing, hot and overcrowded, and are lacking in adequate medical care,” according to the defence. And on certain days Corallo is not allowed to go out in the open air for a while. “Mentally-disturbed persons are also locked up in the same cell complex,” it was added.

CPT totally disapproved of these cells,” Sulvaran says. “For a long time, Corallo has been sitting in a four-person cell with six detainees. That is little more than two square metres per person. He did not get the minimum requirement of four square metre per person. The matrasses are extremely filthy. There is no alarm for emergency situations, no table or chair, and no literature or TV. Linen and towels are not provided, let alone replaced or washed.”

“Under these circumstances Corallo has been locked up for more than seven months in a dark, dirty and inhuman cell. Longer than anyone else, in a cell full of rats and cockroaches. No man can hold out for so long. If this is not torture, I wonder what is,” Sulvaran stated.

All requests filed with the Courts to have Corallo’s detention lifted, under or without strict conditions, were rejected “by a Court which by itself decided there were no grounds to detain him elsewhere,” said Sulvaran. “You would think that magistrates are paid well in order to protect the fundamental rights of every person on the islands.”

According to Sulvaran, the Joint Court Judges, who are mainly from the Netherlands, would “never allow or approve of such barbarism in their own country, without putting their reputation or job on the line. But considering the fact that you cannot file a cassation case against Court decisions (beschikkingen) they do whatever they deem fit.”

Corallo’s defence team is of the opinion that the “continued and stubborn passivity of the magistrates are indications of the “deliberate intention to allow the inhuman and degrading situation to continue.”

Sulvaran said his client had, therefore, no other choice but to withdraw his extradition appeal. “However, the last word has not yet been said in this case. Besides, Mr. Corallo is confident where the handling of his case in Italy is concerned, would it ever come thus far,” he said.

Corallo will be extradited to Italy under the suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion. He is also suspected of membership in a criminal organization. Corallo was arrested in December 2016. Italy filed a request for his extradition on January 12.

Source: The Daily Herald