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Leslie Anderson reports
"The Scots detained all took part in protests at Faslane"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Genoa police 'beat our daughter'
Riot police
Police swooped on a protest organisation
The parents of a British woman arrested during anti-capitalist demonstrations in Genoa have accused Italian police of beating her.

Nicola Doherty and her boyfriend Richard Moth were among five Britons held by police following rioting during the G8 summit at the weekend.

Miss Doherty's parents supported allegations by the solicitor for their daughter and Mr Moth that they had been assaulted by police and denied consular access.

However, Italian authorities have defended the actions of the police, who, they said, were faced by a section of protesters intent on provocation.


We don't know what has happened except that the authorities have got another 48 hours to decide whether or not to charge her

Jim Doherty
Her father Jim said he and his wife Lorna had not been properly informed about what had happened to their daughter.

Mr Doherty, 47, from Chatham, Kent, 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 Elgin, in Scotland, were waiting to hear back from the consulate on the next move.

Earlier the solicitor representing Miss Doherty and Mr Moth, whose parents live in Portsmouth, said the pair had been injured.

Louise Christian said Miss Doherty, 27, had suffered a fractured wrist and Mr Moth, 32, had needed stitches in a head wound.

Summit violence
Violence surrounded the weekend summit
Both were care workers and were involved with the anti-capitalist organisation Globalise Resistance.

Miss Doherty has been spending her 27th birthday in police custody in Genoa.

She was one of five Britons held in Genoa after police raided the headquarters of a major protest organisation at the weekend.

They were arrested with 88 other people when police swooped on the Genoa Social Forum (GSF) on Saturday night after two days of anti-G8 summit rioting.

Italian Interior Minister Claudio Scajola has brushed off general allegations of police excesses, saying the security forces had acted with professionalism in the face of a small number of protesters hell-bent on confrontation.

He did not make a specific comment on the Britons arrested.

Genoa's chief prosecutor, Luigi Francesco Meloni has passed a file on their cases to an investigating magistrate who has up to 48 hours to decide whether they should face charges.

Seventy-eight foreigners out of the 93 people who were arrested in the raid remained in custody while 15 Italians have been freed as the investigations continue.

Internal bleeding

Those arrested face possible charges of criminal conspiracy to cause damage, aggravated resistance of police and possessing explosives.

Sentences, if passed, could range from six months up to five years.

The other Britons being held in the raid were named as Mark Covell, 33, from London, who was in hospital with internal bleeding and broken ribs though said to be getting better; Jonathan Blair, 38, from Newport and Daniel MacQuillan, 35.

British officials have so far only seen Mr Covell and were asking to see the other four plus another Briton held earlier on Saturday, Lawrence Miles, 25.

Protesters on street
Jail terms of up to five years are possible
A man from Northern Ireland, who was also detained in Genoa, was freed with no action against him, British Consul in Milan Alan Reuter said.

Ms Christian said that her clients were being held incommunicado, without access to a lawyer or consular officials, and that she had been told by the Foreign Office that this could continue for another 48 hours.

She said: "That is totally unacceptable - I am calling for the British government to protest to the Italian authorities about the lack of consular access.

"This is a gross and flagrant breach of the European convention in the way they are treating those young people and I would have expected the British Government to be protesting about it.

"The silence of ministers is difficult to understand."

Europe Minister Peter Hain said at the weekend that there had been an "over-reaction" by the Italian police.

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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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