Special Reports
Company Info
Contact ITN
Terms and Conditions


Arrested Britons await their fate

"All we know is that she was asleep and was woken by police, battered around the head and now has a broken wrist" - Jim Doherty, father of British detainee

Five Britons held in Genoa after a weekend of anti-capitalist violence face a wait of up to 48 hours to find out whether they will face charges.

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

The parents of one British woman in police custody in Genoa have described how their "peace-loving girl" was "battered" by Italian police.

Nicola Doherty was one of five Britons held in Genoa after police raided the headquarters of a major protest organisation at the weekend in the wake of rioting at the G8 summit.

Miss Doherty, who with the four other UK nationals now faces a wait of up to 48 hours to find out if she will face charges, had gone to the Italian port city to protest peacefully, her parents said.

Miss Doherty's father Jim said he and his wife Lorna had been kept in the dark 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.

"We are just waiting for the consulate to come back to us and tell us that they have seen her and that she is all right.

"I suppose everybody's son or daughter is a priority but we just want to hear if she is okay."

Mr Doherty refused to comment further until they had heard what was happening to her.

Genoa's chief prosecutor Luigi Francesco Meloni has passed a file on their cases to an investigation 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 remain in custody while 15 Italians have been freed as the investigations continue.

They were taken into custody after police raided a school where the Genoa Social Forum, generally regarded as a peaceful organisation, was based.

Police said later they were seeking missile throwers who had earlier pelted police nearby. But the GSF said the raid was unjustified.

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

The sentences if people were charged and convicted could be from six months up to five years, Mr Meloni said.

The five Britons held in the raid included Mark Covell, 33, from London, who was in hospital with internal bleeding and broken ribs though said to be getting better.

There is also Miss Doherty, 27, and her boyfriend Richard Moth, 32, whose parents live in from Portsmouth and Jonathan Norman 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 Robert Miles, 25.

John Colin Blair, 19, originally from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, who was also detained in Genoa, was freed with no action against him, British Consul in Milan, Alan Reuter said.

The female investigating magistrate had started the process of going to see those held in the raid on the school but was unlikely to visit the Britons before tomorrow, he added.

Email to a friend

Related links
The G8 summit
Indymedia: Protesters' voices
Related stories
July 23: Britons held after riots
July 22: Genoa police raid protest HQ
July 19: Blair wants to tackle slowdown
July 19: Protesters arrive for G8 summit


   ITN UK Plus     GO  
Home | Britain | World | Money | Sport | Entertainment | Weather | Interactive


Human rights breaches?

Human rights lawyer Louise Christian said that the treatment of Mr Moth and Miss Doherty, who were from the anti-capitalist organisation Globalise Resistance, amounted to a breach of human rights.

She said that the pair from North London 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."

She said that both protesters had needed medical treatment, Mr Moth having stitches to his head and Miss Doherty having a fractured wrist and contusions to her hip and body.

"All the consular authorities did was see copies of medical treatment notes. We have not been able to check up if they are well enough to be detained. It is all incredibly worrying for their families."

She added that the families of Mr Moth, originally from Portsmouth, Hants, and Miss Doherty, originally from Scotland, said they were not troublemakers.

"Their families say they are people who are completely opposed to violence and cannot understand why they are being held."

Ms Christian said that the way the pair had been treated appeared to break several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and said she was disappointed by the reaction of the British authorities.

She said: "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.

  Other Headlines
Police probe Archer charity appeal
Police officer accused of violent attack
Sri Lanka tourists heading for home
Shuttle home after space mission
M&S seeks buyer for French stores
No quick moves on euro membership
Ravanelli 'still wants to play for Derby'
Leboeuf poised to move to Marseille
Gorillaz are Mercury prize favourites
Survivor Charlotte's 'pain' at rumours