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Justiça / 30/07/2020

'We want answers': relatives of victims of covid-19 in Italy who went to court against authorities

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'We want answers': relatives of victims of covid-19 in Italy who went to court against authorities

Fonte BBC Londres

Stefano Fusco says he's as stubborn as his grandfather. "When I decide to do something, I'm going to the end, whatever it is," he says.

Too bad his grandfather can't see what he's up to this time, he says. Antonio Fusco died at the age of 85 on March 11, victim of a heart attack days after being diagnosed with covid-19 in northern Italy.

Now Italians Stefano, 31, and his father, Luca, 58, are leading a denunciation movement against the failure of authorities in their country to face the biggest pandemic of this generation.

Italy was the second epicenter of the pandemic, with a rapid rise in cases and stories of people who died lack of respirators available to everyone. There were almost 35 thousand dead.

Victims of Covid-19 buried in a new section of the cemetery in Bergamo

Days after Antonio's death, Luca created a group on Facebook with the aim of sharing his grandfather's life story: an accountant dedicated to work and family, very active, a "true gentleman", in the words of his grandson.

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The idea was to gather life stories like this, inviting family members who lost their loved ones to tell other stories of the victims of the pandemic.

But, in addition to sharing these stories, participants began to complain about the negligence of authorities. For them, this contributed to the loss of life in northern Italy that could have been saved. The group then became "Noi Denunceremo", or "We will denounce".

"To ensure that if someone has responsibilities, if someone can act and hasn't done it, he (or they) will criminally pay for their actions and answer for their negligence," says the group's description.

Family members argue that places the virus circulated should have been isolated earlier.

Today, "Noi Denunceremo" has 60,000 members, and these complaints have reached Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Lombardy was the region most affected by the coronavirus in Italy

The Italian leader was questioned for three hours in June as part of an investigation into alleged mistakes made by officials.

The investigation, led by the Bergamo Public Prosecutor's Office, was born exactly because of complaints family members of the victims of the covid-19.

The Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, and the Minister of the Interior (responsible for internal security and civil protection against catastrophes and terrorism), Luciana Lamorgese, were also heard.

Bergamo is in northern Italy, in the region of Lombardy, the province of the country most affected by the coronavirus. The region is governed by Attilio Fontana, a member of the extreme right-wing Liga party, while the government of Italy is formed by a coalition between the left-wing Democratic Party and the 5 Star Movement.

As in Brazil, the central government and regional authorities are fighting over who is responsible for the actions - or lack of them - during the pandemic.


The "Noi Denunceremo" stopped being just online and became a non-profit institution, which today is collecting the stories to turn them into formal complaints and make them available to the Public Ministry.

Almost 150 have already been sent with the help of seven lawyers acting pro bono, according to Stefano.

"Millions of people want answers about what happened. We want answers," he says.

The group is not asking for financial compensation, he says (although other family members may ask for it individually), but that there should be an investigation and, if there is a complaint the Public Ministry, that the accused be tried.

"Everyone has their own opinion about what happened. For me, the responsibilities were of the region. The authorities in the region had to have imposed a lockdown," says Stefano.

In Bergamo, headstones of coronavirus deaths have dates one day after another

The group also sent a letter to the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights asking them to oversee the investigation in Lombardy, there were "signs of unspeakable crimes against humanity", according to the text.

Should the prosecutor's office point out that the errors were political, the conclusion will be that it was "a deliberate decision to sacrifice lives, tens of thousands of lives, to avoid the political repercussions of a lockdown in three economically productive cities in northern Italy" says the letter.

The complaint is echoed in complaints relatives of victims in other countries. Stefano says he has been contacted by people in France, Spain, the United States, Chile and the United Kingdom.

"This confirms that there are many people around the world who think their leaders have underestimated the problem, "says the leader of" Noi Denunceremo ".

In the UK, a petition calling for an investigation into why more than 40,000 people died covid-19 has more than 155,000 signatures. There is also a Facebook group with around 1,200 members.

Delay for lockdown

The stories told by relatives of victims of the covid-19 show that many think that "there were mistakes in the administration of the pandemic", says Stefano.

Many complain, for example, of the way the crisis was managed in Alzano Lombardo, an area of ​​Bergamo with 12,000 inhabitants. There, because of the presence of industry and factories and, therefore, "because of the economy, they never imposed a lockdown", says Stefano.

The delay or even the absence of a lockdown in Alzano Lombardo, as well as in the city of Nembro, are objects of investigation by the Public Ministry.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was heard by the Bergamo Public Ministry about the actions taken during the pandemic

" February 23, when the first case was discovered there, until March 8, when there was a partial restriction, people went shopping at the mall, went to restaurants. Our lives were normal. If they had closed everything, maybe this one tragedy was not so great ", he says.

One of the other major problems reported in the group is how some people were hospitalized late - they arrived at the hospital with 60%, 65% blood oxygen saturation, reports Stefano.

Finally, in the group there are also anonymous reports doctors. They talk about the situation of those working on the front lines of the then epicenter of the pandemic, and they complain mainly about the lack of protective equipment.

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