Rape cases in Rome: EveryOne Group expresses doubts about the Bianchini and Caffarella cases
Luca Bianchini, the only suspect for the serial rapes committed in Rome, is on the 22th day of his hunger strike in Regina Coeli prison. |
On the night of October 7th, he was taken ill and the doctor who was called tried to convince him to interrupt his protest, in that there was a serious risk of him causing permanent damage to his circulation and kidneys. In spite of this, Bianchini, speaking through his lawyer Giorgio Olmi, (who is in direct contact with EveryOne) stated: “I will carry on the hunger strike, even if it kills me, because I am innocent”.
In the meantime, on October 5th, Oltean Gavrila (sentenced to imprisonment along with Jean Ionut Alexandru for a rape in Caffarella Park in Rome on 14th February) made a statement in which he claims Luca Bianchini was present during the rape in the park: “He forced me to do it, while others filmed it”, he said in the courtroom, adding that he had recognised Bianchini while he was taking a shower in the prison showers.
“Gavrila’s declaration is certainly bizarre, and it would lead us to think that someone in the jail has forced the Romanian to mention Bianchini’s name, with the deliberate aim of involving him in the violence that took place in the Caffarella,” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of EveryOne Group, the international human rights organisation. “Both Bianchini and Gavrila are being held in isolation in Regina Coeli Prison and (as confirmed by Bianchini’s lawyer) it is highly unlikely that the two men were able to bump into each other in the jail, if only for a moment - not even in the showers, seeing the isolation regime in jail categorically forbids it”.
EveryOne Group, which right from the moment of Bianchini’s arrest expressed doubts as to whether the former secretary of the Democratic Party Club in Rome was guilty (the group sent a detailed protest and dossier to the relevant authorities) states there are also grounds to doubt the guilt of the two Romanians; Oltean Gavrila, aged 27, and Jean Ionut Alexandru, aged 18. It is to be remembered that in the previous arrest of Racz and Loyos for the same crime (they were later released as innocent) Loyos had been forced to confess to the rape in Caffarella Park - providing horrifying details - through the use of police violence.
As pointed out by EveryOne Group at the time of their arrest, the young Romanians Gavrila and Alexandru, (who were recently given a jail sentence for the park rape) do not fit the description given by the victims: no long hair, no boxer’s nose and dark complexion, no fingers missing. In the investigation into the park rape there are mysteries that implicate people - between Italy and Romania - who are above the institutions and the law itself”, say the activists.
“Leads were abandoned that were highly plausible - like that of the culprit’s DNA (to mention the most emblematic) a lead which led two Romanian investigators and a Italian police executive to travel to Bucharest to seek out the real culprit of the crime among the children and cousins of a Romanian shepherd – a man being held in his own country whose Y haplotype matched the one found on the clothes and vaginal swabs of the victim. The correct procedure, because it is evident that at least one of the rapists must possess a DNA compatible with the shepherd’s. The investigators had published the results of seven of the twenty DNA tests done on the suspects’ DNA, all of them negative. Suddenly this lead disappeared – like the one that concentrated on Ciprian Cioschi, aged 22, from Botosan, who is missing three fingers on one hand, a detail that perfectly matches the description given by the victims.
Cioschi was later defended by the police and the Romanian secret services which led to the Italian authorities abandoning the lead. Then, after pressure from the institutions and media, with all haste, police arrested Alexandru and (on the suggestion of the 18-year-old) Gavrila, aged 27, claiming that their DNA confirmed their guilt. However, it is obvious that as there were only two men present at the crime, the DNA of at least one of them should have been identical to that of the Romanian shepherd. But no. Identification by the victims and the men’s confessions (seeing what had happened with Loyos and Racz) means the DNA assumes no importance - so much so that the physical description of the two Romanians being held in prison do not match in the slightest the description given by the victim and her boyfriend immediately after the crime.
At the moment of their arrest Gavrila and Alexandru tried to protest their innocence, asking the authorities to check their stories with their families and friends - a procedure that was denied them.
Oltean Gavrila and Ionut Jean Alexandru may well be the umpteenth scapegoats in events that have taken on shady tones,” continue the EveryOne activists, “which shows to what extent Italian law and democracy is in peril right now. At the same time brutal crimes are been exploited (or worse) to create social alarm, like in the glaringly obvious and uncontrolled case of Romulus Mailat who was sentenced to prison for 29 years based on mainly groundless evidential proof and biological samples that had mysteriously disappeared in the rain”.
As for the Luca Bianchini case, EveryOne Groups adds: “We are absolutely certain that Luca is innocent: this is shown by the fact that no papillary prints were found on the tape used to immobilise his victims (while according to the raped women their assailant acted with bare hands, not with gloves) and the fact that he does not fit any of the descriptions supplied by the victims. None of the identikit descriptions given fit the physical characteristics of Bianchini and in spite of several inspections carried out in the places Bianchini frequented, investigators have never found the woollen hat, the underwear and the ID card the rapist took from one of his victims.
Many details in the investigation of this crime (like in the Caffarella rape) have been put to one side or inexplicably ignored, and the DNA results (which according to the Prosecution correspond to Bianchini) often undergo muddled and inappropriate procedures in Italy in laboratories connected to the authorities The many errors committed in other symbolic cases (from the Reggiani murder to that of Galasco) arouse great doubts as to the reliability of these tests carried out with the present system.
We will continue to work” conclude the representatives of EveryOne “to ensure that real justice is done and the arrest of innocent people ceases – something which throws us back to the Medieval use of arresting scapegoats when a real culprit is unavailable. We are talking about human beings often unable to defend themselves properly due to their social vulnerability. People paying with their freedom and damaged honour for a crime they did not commit.”
Arresting innocent people also does a great disservice to the victims of these horrible crimes. The victims need reassurance that the real culprits of these brutal and inhuman actions will be punished, not a scapegoat.
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