Freedom News

Alfredo Cospito fights punitive prison conditions with hunger strike

Alfredo Cospito was imprisoned for 10 years in 2014 for the kneecapping of a power plant owner, in 2012, carried out by the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI). He was later sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for ‘political massacre’ (where no one was hurt) for his role in Operation Scripta Manent in 2006, along with Anna Beniamino, who was sentenced to 17 years. He is held under the punitive Article 41-bis prison regime, and has been on hunger strike protesting both the sentence and the conditions under which he is held under since October 20 2022. A court in Rome rejected his appeal against his conditions on December 19. Freedom republishes both Anna Beniamino and Alfredo Cospito’s statements after an update from La Nemesi:

On December 29th, 71st day of the hunger strike to the bitter end against 41 bis and life imprisonment without possibility of parole, the antagonist radio station Radio Onda d’Urto broadcast a speech by the doctor who is regularly visiting anarchist comrade Alfredo Cospito, imprisoned in the Bancali prison in Sassari. We report a partial transcript of the speech:

“[…] So, let’s consider that Alfredo is now 70 days into his hunger strike. He started from a weight of 115 kg and today he is at 84 kg. Surely he has a strong physique, he started from a fairly high weight so he has a better chance than others of being able to sustain this hunger strike. It is clear, however, that everything has an end at some point; in the sense that currently his haemato-chemical parameters are quite good, except for the fact that it is going down a bit with the electrolytes. Today he spoke to me about reducing his agony, in the sense that he wants to make it precipitate a little in order to shift the ground a little, a little more, so that he might eventually be transferred from 41 bis. I told him, however, that as far as potassium is concerned, which is part of the electrolytes, like sodium and chlorine, it is indispensable for contraction, especially for cardiac contraction – I am a cardiologist –, in fact, with the electrocardiogram that we did today there are alterations that are found in the ventricular recovery phase, and which show particular waves that result from potassium deficiency. Obviously I got a bit angry because, a few days ago, he stopped taking the supplements [extremely mild, light, which he has been taking for some time], so this is also the cause of the lowered potassium […]. He is a little convinced [to keep taking them, for a few more days] so he promised me that today and tomorrow, while waiting for the results of the tests [which are done about every four days], he will take the supplements. Then, as for the rest, psychologically he is in high spirits, smiling; a couple of days ago they moved him from his cell to another one, so he has air time with three other inmates, and this pleases him very much, because he talks to these other three inmates during air time. As a complexion then, in fact, he is a little better because he was very, very pale, but not pale because he was deficient in red blood cells; pale precisely because he was not taking light. And obviously the calcemia that he still has good is crumbling a little bit from the bones; somewhere, if you don’t take in food, the body subtracts and tries to help in some way. Let’s say that also as reasoning, as lucidity, he is fine; nothing to say about the answers he gives, they are not at all confused. He is reading, now and then he has a bit of blurred vision, he told me a bit of visual impairment, and that goes with the vitamin deficiency, of course. Every now and then, also because he wants to be conscious, he takes a little honey, which is a bit better than sugar […], when he was hypoglycaemic, they used to give him some sugar, but now he takes honey, so he doesn’t have these glycaemic drops any more. Then, for the rest, he is quite well; obviously he has lost a lot, a lot, a lot of weight, even since the first time I saw him, but nothing disastrous from the haemato-chemical analyses […]”.

Statement by Anna Beniamino at the appeal hearing for the recalculation of sentences in the context of the Scripta Manent trial (Turin, 5 December 2022)

This is a political process, which from the beginning has shown itself aimed at administering the exemplary punishment, a trial of our identities as anarchists rather than of the facts, a trial of those who do not abjure their ideas. A massacre without a massacre attributed without evidence is the culmination of a growing commitment by Counterterrorism and Prosecutors to exorcise the specter of anarchism of action. In the same drawing is the imposition of the 41 bis regime on Alfredo Cospito, guilty of maintaining relations with the anarchist movement from prison. The indefinite hunger strike that the comrade has been carrying out since October 20 is the last resort against isolation and sensory, physical, psychic deprivation, against a political gag. A gag that even prevented him from reading the reasons for the strike itself. The 41 bis is the extreme degree of persistence of the differentiated regimes: prisons where the continued isolation and the overcrowding of the common sections are the two sides of a system aimed at annihilating the individual. Prisons where the massacres, the real ones, have occurred and are occurring: in the repression of the 2020 riots, in the steady stream of suicides, in the treatment of the poorest and most fragile of the prisoners as “residual material” of the prevailing techno-capitalistic society. If something happens to Alfredo Cospito, any individual with critical thinking will understand who the instigators and executors of his physical annihilation, having failed to carry out the political and ideal one. I am aware of being hostage to a system that hides behind the fetish of “security” and “terrorism” its political, economic, social, environmental collapse. Opposing this is necessary. You can destroy people’s lives, you will not be able to extinguish anti-authoritarian thinking and practices. Do not you will be able to break the revolutionary tension, you will not be able to extinguish anarchy. Greetings Alfredo and all the comrades.

Anna Benjamin

Statement by Alfredo Cospito at the Appeal hearing for the recalculation of sentences in the context of the Scripta Manent trial (Turin, 5 December 2022).

I read only four lines. Before disappearing definitively into oblivion under the 41 bis regime, let me say a few things and then I will keep silent forever. The judiciary of the Italian republic decided that, being too subversive, I could no longer have the chance to see the stars again, freedom. Buried definitively with life imprisonment, which I have no doubt you will give me, with the absurd accusation of having committed a “political massacre”, for two demonstrative attacks in the middle of the night, in deserted places, which should not and could not injure or kill no one and that in fact they didn’t hurt or kill anyone. Not satisfied, in addition to the life imprisonment impediment, given that from prison I continued to write and collaborate in the anarchist press, it was decided to shut my mouth forever with the medieval regime of 41 bis, condemning me to an endless limbo awaiting death. I’m not in it and I’m not giving up, and I will continue my hunger strike for the abolition of 41 bis and life imprisonment until my last breath, to make these two repressive abominations of this country known to the world. There are 750 of us in this regime and I am fighting for this too. At my side are my anarchist and revolutionary brothers and sisters. I’m used to censorship and media smokescreens, the latter having the sole purpose of showing any radical and revolutionary opponent. Abolition of the 41 bis regime. Abolition of life imprisonment. Solidarity with all anarchist, communist and revolutionary prisoners in the world. Always for the anarchy.

Alfredo Cospito

Image: Guy Smallman

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