Killings of Roma in Italy

10 July 2002

At approximately 4:00 PM, on May 2, 2002, Mr Baretta Salkanović, a 21-year-old Romani man, was shot and killed by an unknown man in the town of Turin in Northern Italy. According to the Italian national daily newspaper Il Corriere della Sera of May 3, 2002, Mr Salkanović was allegedly stealing tools from a garden, together with Mr Satko Salkanović, a 20-year-old Romani man and Mr Moharem Armetović, a 22-year-old Romani man, in a residential area on the northern periphery of Turin. According to Il Corriere della Sera, as the three men were approaching their vehicle, a middle-aged manreportedly got out of his car, walked up to themand allegedly removed a gun from a paper bag. The daily reported that the man shot Mr Salkanović twice in the stomach, from a close range, killing him.He then turned his weapon on Mr Armetović and shot towards his face, grazing his cheek with a bullet. According to the daily, Mr Satko Salkanović reportedly escaped and hid behind an apartment complex, where he alerted the police using his mobile phone.

Media coverage of the killing in Italy has focused primarily on the fact that the Roma were stealing and that the nearby Romani settlement is full of "thieves and criminals". On May 3, 2002, the Turin-based national daily newspaper La Stampa published an article which suggested that locals, tired of being victims of "nomad criminals", may have taken the situation into their own hands, in an article entitled "An Ambush for a Vendetta: Vindication for too Many Thefts". In a textbox in the same article entitled "Exasperation of the Residents – Theft and Robberies Every Day", Turin residents were quoted as saying, "they (Roma) steal everything and laugh in your face."

On May 24, 2002, the ERRC received information that the victims would not pursue justice for fear of retribution, even though they reportedly recognised the shooter. On June 15, 2002, Mr Giovanni de Sanctis, Deputy Police Chief in Turin, informed the ERRC that the investigation into the shooting of Mr Salkanović was ongoing. Turin police were reportedly collaborating with the military police (cara-binieri) in the investigation. As of July 15, 2002, the investigation into the case was ongoing.

In other news, according to ERRC field investigation, at approximately 10:00 PM on February 1, 2002, Fabio Halilović, a 16-year-old Romani youth, was fatally shot by Mr D.S., a 42-year-old military police officer of the Tivoli squad, at the police check point near the camp via Salone on the southern periphery of Rome. According to an 8:30 AM update of the Italian national daily newspaper Il Nuovo of February 2, 2002, police stated that a car carrying four Romani men refused to stop at the police check-point, and that the driver of the vehicle allegedly put the car in reverse and attempted to run over the two officers at the checkpoint. According to Il Nuovo, Officer D.S. allegedly fell to the ground and accidentally fired a shot. According to the police statement in Il Nuovo, the bullet entered the back of the car, passed through the passenger's seat and struck Fabio Halilovićfrom behind, passing through his right kidney and heart. However, according to the February 2, 2002 1:50 PM online update of Il Nuovo, the vehicle driven by the four Roma slowed down at the police checkpoint inside camp via Salone, but continued driving for some metres. Il Nuovo reported that the police officers let the car pass, but then Officer D.S.got off the police patrol car and shot while standing up. According to testimonies given to the ERRC on February 8, 2002, by Mr G.H. and Mrs R.H., Fabio Halilović's parents, the other passengers in the car took him to a local hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival. Il Nuovo reported that on February 2, 2002, an investigation into the shooting was opened, undertaken by public investigative magistrate Mr Roberto Staffa. On February 4, 2002, an autopsy was performed on Fabio Halilović's remains. According to information provided to the ERRC by Mr Nicolo Paoletti, an attorney following the case, as of June 10, 2002, no charges had been brought in connection with the shooting death. Also according to Mr Paoletti, the investigator's report, including the autopsy report, had not, as of July 15, 2002, been made public and Officer D.S. had not been suspended from duty.

(ERRC, Il Corriere della Sera, Il Nuovo, La Stampa)

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