Gulag Archipelago


Last night, Massimo left a comment on the blog about the death of his brother.

“Dear Beppe,
I’m writing to tell you about what happened to my brother, Vincenzo, who was a prisoner in the Como jail and then got sick and died in circumstances that have still to be cleared up. My brother was 35 years old when he was arrested in December 2005. He was a drug addict and had committed a crime but he had a serious form of cirrhosis.
As soon as he arrived at San Vittore he became the centre of attention for a group of prisoners who beat him up savagely so that he went into a coma but the prison guards remained indifferent. He was treated at the Policlinico di Milano and his spleen was removed and he needed 130 stitches. But at the Policlinico he was declared to be compatible with prison and he was transferred to Como.

Here, as soon as he came round, he made a request to go into a community to detoxify himself and found a place at a centre in Varese but the giudice di sorveglianza {surveillance magistrate} denied him the community. My brother then attempted suicide but he was stopped in time. After a few days his condition became a lot worse for his liver and for a terrible disease called sepsis. Even though he told the prison personnel a number of times that he was not well, he was not taken to hospital until they found him in a coma with hardly any sign of life.

Thus he went to the Sant'Anna with a diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy and septic shock that had devastated all his organs. The doctors told us straight away that there was little hope and my brother died 3 days later at only 36 years old. Now finally, the prosecutors of Como have started an investigation because they “suspect” the death was due to the guilt of someone. You see, Grillo, I don’t even know whether you will read this. I know that my brother was no better than many other victims of the justice system and he was also a person who had committed crimes. But he was my brother, my blood, and they left him to die in general indifference. Perhaps because he was not a politician, he was not a past king, or a manager but he was simply an unlucky young man. If there’s something you can do, I’ll be really grateful.”
Massimo De Angelis.

Who killed Vincenzo? The prisoners who beat him to the edge of death? The Policlinico di Milano that declared him fit to go back to prison after he had been massacred? By the surveillance magistrate who denied him the possibility of recovering in the detox community? By the prison personnel who didn’t get him to hospital sooner? By the prison who transforms the prisoners (only the poor ones) into delinquents or relics? The response is on the wind. But the wind can talk. In memory of a young man who paid for his crimes with his life.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 03:33 PM in | Comments (3)
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If his last name was Previti or Savoia then he would be admitted to an hospital and/or at hose arrests.
Harry Klein: I partially agree with you; what I cannot agree with, is the mixing of justice and perpetrators.
Here the government is the perpetrator as well, where it should have been motivated to take care of this guy.
What if somebody gets in prison by mistake and gets beaten up by some fellow inmate just for the hell of it and afterwards he's denied also a basic assistance within the boundaries of human decency?
We are talking about Italy, here. Not about Iran, Iraq or Turkey.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | July 11, 2006 12:11 PM

What about staying away from drugs and avoiding committing crimes?

Posted by: Harri Klein | July 10, 2006 07:16 PM

Dear Massimo, your story touches our heart. Your brother was killed by the circumstances altogether. He was a person who made some mistakes but who deserved to be given the chance to change his life.

Posted by: Paola Gobbi | July 10, 2006 04:15 PM

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