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Incidents in Warsaw: Bonino asks Polish counterpart for clarification of a case that still needs further investigation.

In a declaration issued at the end of the Italian-Israeli bilateral, Minister Bonino returned to the case of the Lazio fans arrested in Warsaw. “Today I’ve asked my Polish counterpart, Sikorski, for clarification of a case that still needs to be investigated in full and which, as things stand, sees 22 Italian citizens in prison in Warsaw. I also asked him to make every effort to ensure that they are released, if necessary on bail, pending the trial. Sikorski promised me that he would personally look into the matter and keep me up to date on the situation.

I have also given our Ambassador a mandate to request a meeting with the Minister for Justice, tomorrow. In the meantime, at a meeting with the Under-Secretary for Justice, the Ambassador asked for the procedures to enable relatives of the Lazio fans to visit them in prison and bring them their personal belongings to be speeded up. The Ambassador also had a meeting today with the Under-Secretary at the Ministry for Home Affairs, which is responsible for the police force, to illustrate the emotions aroused by the case in the Italian government and public opinion.

The defence lawyers are in close contact with our Embassy. They are discussing with relatives the best course of action and are putting together the material that will be necessary in the Polish courts to submit the appeal as soon as possible. I must point out, however that the Polish police seized knives, knuckle-dusters and even an axe from some of the young Italians involved.

Lastly, I also spoke today with the Chairman of the Lazio team, Lotito, and assured him of my sympathy for those peaceful fans who found themselves involved in situations that have nothing to do with football as a sport. I also reassured him by illustrating all of the steps being taken by the government to obtain the release of all the Italian nationals currently under arrest”.

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