Courthouse News Service, “Imprisoned anarchist’s hunger strike shines light on Italy’s harsh isolation regime”

The inmate is among nearly 750 people in Italy — most of them mafia gangsters — who have been cut off for years from communicating with the outside world.

By Cain Burdeau, January 4, 2023

Inside a maximum-security prison on the island of Sardinia, a 55-year-old militant Italian anarchist is on hunger strike: He says he’d rather die than live the rest of his life locked away under Italy’s harsh system of isolating inmates considered so dangerous to society they need to be cut off from communicating with the outside world.

Alfredo Cospito’s hunger strike — in its 77th day on Wednesday — is renewing a thorny debate over the legality of Italian laws that permit the state to almost entirely seal off imprisoned leaders of criminal organizations and terrorist groups from contact with the world beyond the prison walls.

Cospito’s case is gathering some support, especially on the political left, because his history of criminal activity as a militant anarchist is less violent than that of others languishing inside Italy’s regime of extreme isolation.

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