Cospito, Ristretti Orizzonti: “41bis is monstrous torture, politics is afraid to intervene”

Director Favero: “The State must also be able to show a human face”

“I listen to stories of people who have been in 41bis for many years; in the editorial office I have a prisoner with his father in 41bis for 21 years. So I say, at least let’s start talking about the limits to be placed on 41bis. You can’t stay in 41 bis for life, you have to think about the times and on the number of people at 41 bis. Let’s start talking about it. The regimes launched in the emergency phase are not the norm. The emergency can last even a few years, but then that’s enough. Now we are no longer in an emergency. Do a serious reflection on how long a human being can remain in isolation, where torture really looms large. Families cannot have a family member in those conditions for decades”. So to AdnKronos Ornella Favero, director of ‘Ristretti Orizzonti’, on the so-called ‘hard prison’, a discussion that returned to the center of the scenario after the arrest of the superboss Matteo Messina Denaro and in the wake of the Cospito case.

And it is precisely on Cospito that Favero dwells: “The concept of 41 bis – he observes – is that of not allowing people to maintain contact with the criminal organization, and this already poses problems compared to the Cospito case, because it is difficult to see a precise organization in the groups and realities of anarchy. But, I repeat, I find that by now the 41 bis regime no longer makes sense to exist, I am convinced of it. Our country has fought against the mafia with victories, there is no longer the mafia of 30 years agothere are no longer those murders and that violence, there is corruption, there is the underworld and crime, crime that has its strength, but it can be fought differently, also from a cultural point of view”.

“Everyone I know who has been in the 41 bis for years – continues Favero – tells me that change occurs when you confront the outside world, if you agree to talk and see different people, if you meet members of civil society, certainly not if you’re shut up in there and talk at best with another person with whom you share the walk. At 41 bis there is a reserved area where even a so-called ‘companion’ is provided to prevent isolation, as the rule says, from being total. But what are we talking about?”

As for the difference in reaction from politics, and beyond, between the Cospito case and the case of superboss Bernardo Provenzano, left at 41 bis until his death and when he was seriously illthe director of ‘Ristretti Orizzonti’ underlines: “This it shows us that politics is afraid and he believes he has to save his image, he fears that saying that a regime like the 41 bis no longer makes sense today would mean passing for friends of the mafia. But the serious politician shouldn’t be afraid of this, he shouldn’t be afraid that rights in prisons will be restored. The State must also be able to show a mild face which does not mean not acting but showing a human face, and the politician has nothing to fear”.

Finally, on how many real possibilities there are that the 41 bis regime will be modified to make it less afflictive, Favero comments: “I’m afraid none, but I think we must still have the courage to continue the battle. The 41a provides for subtle levels of monstrosityfor example yes they can have a certain number of photographs and of a certain size and so on. It’s all measured on the verge of paranoia, and the person isolated at 41 bis becomes paranoid because it’s the system that brings him to this point. There is an episode of the TV series ‘Law & Order’ dedicated to this. A cop gets himself placed in solitary confinement to try to figure out what that means, and in a week he practically goes insane without realizing that a week had passed, while he was convinced who knows how much time had passed. Here, to underline its monstrosity”.