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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Genoa Britons on 'trumped up' charges
Riot police walk past a wall bearing graffiti referring to young protestor Carlo Giuliani who was shot dead during the protests
Riot police struggled to maintain order during anti-capitalist riots
Two Britons are among about 90 protesters arrested in Genoa and charged with identical offences, according to their solicitor.

Louise Christian said her clients, in Genoa for a peaceful protest coinciding with the G8 summit, had been assaulted by Italian police and denied consular access.

She said the pretext for some of the charges was "extraordinary".

Ms Christian said Nicola Doherty, 27, had suffered a fractured wrist and Richard Moth, 32, had needed stitches in a head wound. Both are care workers from the anti-capitalist organisation Globalise Resistance.


The fact that [all 90] have been charged with four identical charges gives rise to concern

Louise Christian
Solicitor
They were arrested on Saturday night and have now been charged, along with the rest of the protesters, with association, resisting a public official, possession of offensive weapons and possession of arms, Ms Christian said.

The other Britons held in the raid are Mark Covell, 33, from London, who is in hospital with internal bleeding and broken ribs, Jonathan Blair, 38, from Newport, and Daniel MacQuillan, 35.

British officials have so far only seen Mr Covell and are asking to see the other four plus two other Britons held earlier on Saturday, John Blair, 19, and Lawrence Miles, 25.

Missile throwers

Italian police said they arrested the protesters after a raid on a building said to be the headquarters of protest group Genoa Social Forum (GSF). There were reports protesters were sleeping in a part which was a building site.

Police said later they were seeking missile throwers who had earlier pelted police nearby.

Officers said two Molotov cocktails and an array of possible weapons were allegedly found at the headquarters, including sledgehammers and knives.

Weapons allegedly seized by police during Saturday's raid
Police allegedly seized offensive weapons during Saturday's raid
But the GSF says the raid was unjustified and has called for Italy-wide protests on Tuesday.

Apart from 15 Italians arrested, the remainder of the 93 protesters arrested remain in custody.

The arrests followed two days of vicious anti-G8 summit rioting in the Italian city.

Ms Christian said there was "considerable concern" about all five Britons arrested in the raid.

Identical charges

Referring to her clients Mr Moth and Ms Doherty, Ms Christian told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "[They were] both participating in a peaceful protest and were asleep when the building was raided by Italian police.

"They were assaulted and landed up in hospital.

"The fact that [all 90] have been charged with four identical charges gives rise to concern.

"There were reports that this was a building site that they were sleeping in.

Care workers

"There may have been things lying around which might be classified as offensive weapons but to say all 90 were in possession of them seems extraordinary.

"It is Nicola's 27th birthday and she has never been on a demonstration before.

"She and Richard are both care workers - they do responsible and committed jobs.

"They went to protest peacefully about third world debt and the gap between rich and poor and took part in the entirely peaceful part of the demonstration on Saturday."


One of the key international standards relates to the fact that people must not be held incommunicado

Brendan Paddy
Amnesty International

The allegations were supported by Miss Doherty's parents Jim and Lorna, from Chatham in Kent.

Mr Doherty said: "All we know is that she was asleep and was woken by police, battered around the head and now has a broken wrist.

"She is a peace-loving girl. We don't know what has happened except that the authorities have got another 48 hours to decide whether or not to charge her."

Mr Doherty said the family, originally from Scotland, were waiting to hear back from the consulate on the next move.

Brendan Paddy of Amnesty International told BBC News 24 it was imperative that the detained Britons be allowed visits by consular staff and solicitors.

"One of the key international standards relates to the fact that people must not be held incommunicado", he said.

He added that "very grave reports" that the Italian authorities overreacted "and in some cases indiscriminately" during the Genoa protests should be independently investigated.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Sue Jones, protest group 'Global Resistance'
"The consul still has not been told where they are being held"
Brendan Paddy, Amnesty International
"Force of the level being reported is not justified"
See also:

22 Jul 01 | Europe
G8 pledges to help poor
22 Jul 01 | Europe
Genoa counts the cost
22 Jul 01 | Europe
Summits must continue - Blair
22 Jul 01 | Europe
Eyewitness: Genoa police raid
21 Jul 01 | Europe
Protest death divides Genoese
21 Jul 01 | Media reports
Newspapers lament Genoa violence
20 Jul 01 | Business
Economic vigilance needed warns G8
20 Jul 01 | Business
G8 leaders focus on world poverty
22 Jul 01 | Europe
Dismay at Genoa's troubles
22 Jul 01 | Business
G8 extols globalisation
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