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FOREIGN MINISTRY NOTE – Sudan: Update on the situation of the Italian detainee Marco Zennaro

Mr. Marco Zennaro has been detained in Khartoum since 1 April, following allegations of fraud made by his business partners. The Italian Embassy in Khartoum has been following the case constantly, from the beginning, with regular consular visits to the detained Italian citizen (over 60 visits, to date, since 1 April) and keeping permanently in touch with his family.

Ambassador Gianluigi Vassallo has never ceased to raise the case with the highest Sudanese authorities, requesting official clarifications and his release, in the absence of reasons justifying the detention measure. A similar message was conveyed by the Foreign Ministry to the Sudanese Embassy in Italy.

On 24 May, on the instructions of Minister Di Maio, Vice Minister Sereni stressed to her Sudanese counterpart the attention with which Italy is following this case.

On 30 and 31 May, on Minister Di Maio’s instructions, the Director General for Italian Citizens Abroad, Luigi Vignali, travelled to Khartoum, where he visited the detained Italian citizen several times and managed to obtain some improvement in the conditions of his detention. On 2 June, Marco Zennaro was transferred to a more organised detention facility, where he now has a bed in a non-overcrowded cell and has access to outdoor facilities and spaces; he can also use his mobile phone to communicate with his family and receive visits from family members and Embassy staff at predefined times.

The Director General also asked the highest Sudanese authorities to allow the detained Italian citizen to be held under house arrest at a hotel.

Director Vignali’s mission also included making contact with the Sudanese private counterparts to take stock of the negotiations for an out-of-court settlement of the trade dispute that has given rise to the case.