Erasmus massacre, Elena’s father: “Filing discovered on TV, baffled”

Gabriele Maestrini: “No justice for victims, I still trust the judiciary”

We are baffled”. Gabriele Maestrini is Elena’s father, one of the thirteen victims – seven of whom were Italian Erasmus students – died on 20 March 2016 in the accident of a bus that was taking them back from Valencia to Barcelona. Today, watching the news, came to know that “the Spanish judge has officially closed the criminal case against the driver” of the vehicle, who died of natural causes in recent weeks. “We knew of the driver’s death, but officially no one had informed us that everything was now closed: the news knew it before us”, Maestrini underlines to Adnkronos more than seven years after the tragedy, still left without a judicial truth. “When someone dies, I raise my arms and death wishes no one – observes Elena’s father – but our girls are dead, they were killed and we didn’t know the truth. We weren’t given the chance to give them justice”.

For Elena’s family, the intent was not “an exemplary condemnation of the driver” because “no one ever returns our daughter to us” but we wanted “the critical issues that led to the tragedy to emerge”, those “factors that led to an aggravation, the contributing causes for the legislator to take corrective measures to improve the safety of the kids who continue to have this life and study experience. This would have been a small ‘satisfaction’, if you can call it that, improvements for the safety of the kids : like the second driver, the obligation to rest, the safety system of the motorways”.

Despite the news of the filing in Spain, Gabriele Maestrini goes ahead and still trusts the judiciary: “I have made complaints, one to the Rome prosecutor’s office and one to the Florence prosecutor’s office, another in Spain in which I highlight the critical issues that have arisen , which led to this tragedy and which the various judges did not take into consideration”. “They limited themselves – he continued – to the direct and exclusive responsibility of the driver, without going to the bottom of understanding what happened and how it happened”.

“A proposal for a parliamentary investigation was also presented in parliament in which a parallel investigation is requested”, continues Elena’s father who hopes at this point new investigations so that “the truth will come out”. To the pain for the death of the girl, for the years spent in vain waiting for a justice that has not yet arrived, a feeling of loneliness is added: “I would have preferred from the Italian State that there had been an official position. It is obvious, you cannot interfere with another country, but demonstrate that you are present, attentive, yes, close”, underlines Maestrini.

In recent months Maestrini has addressed the heads of the institutions: “I wrote to the President of the Republic Mattarella, who received us a few months after the tragedy, and I also wrote to the Prime Minister Meloni, the Minister of Justice Nordio and the Rome prosecutor – he reports – but I haven’t had any feedback from anyone”.

“In any case, we are going forward”, underlines Maestrini, assisted by the lawyer Cinzia Zanaboni, who underlines to Adnkronos: “It is incredible. The trial will not be done because the bus driver has died, there will be no provision from a court to clarify the dynamics of the accident, the responsibilities and why today 13 young people are no longer with us. It is the courtrooms that give dimension and dignity to such a dramatic event while these girls were deprived of life and fair right to a trial. It is shameful and it happens in a country (Spain ed), next to ours”. However, the lawyers are not giving up: “We are studying other initiatives to take and we are discussing with our Spanish colleagues”, concludes Zanaboni.