INTRODUCTION: One hundred and thirty alleged members of the left-wing guerrilla group, Prima Linea have gone on trial in Bergamo, northern Italy.
GV PAN Special bunker containing courthouse with police outside
GV Police van parked outside courthouse
GV Police road and security check
CU Newspaper headline
GV INTERIOR Courtroom PAN TO cages containing defendants (2 shots)
GV Court room with lawyers and police
SV Defendants in cages (2 shots)
GV Defendants chanting with clenched fists
SV PULL BACK Judge and other officiating at bench
SV PULL BACK TO GV Prisoners behind bars PAN TO bench
SV Defendants behind bars
SV Newsmen, crowd and police in courtroom
GV & SVs Defendants behind bars (4 shots)
LV Bench and LV courtroom (2 shots)
Background: INTRODUCTION: One hundred and thirty alleged members of the left-wing guerrilla group, Prima Linea have gone on trial in Bergamo, northern Italy. The court case, which opened on Wednesday (9 December), coincides with the death of another member of the gang, apparently strangled while in prison awaiting trial.
SYNOPSIS: A special court house has been built for the trial inside a bunker designed to be terrorist-proof, at a cost of two and a half million dollars. Intense security surrounded the court and the case has aroused great interest in the country.
Inside the courtroom the defendants, alleged members of Prima Linea (Front Line) group, were crammed into specially constructed cages to hear the charges against them. These include subversion and membership of an armed gang. The group are thought to be responsible for terrorist attacks in the Milan-Turin area. The attacks have been condemned by local trade union organisations as well as the Italian authorities.
None of which seems to have impressed the 130 prisoners in the dock who chanted slogans in defiance of the court and made clenched fist salutes to the judge. The court is likely to pass heavy sentences on the accused if found guilty. Forty-four alleged members of the Red Brigades leftist guerrilla group received a total of 264 years in jail when convicted in Genoa on Thursday (10 December).
This case has been given added controversy by the death of 'Front Line' member, Giorgio Soldati, in a top security jail in Cuneo, near the Mediterranean port of Genoa. He was found strangled to death in a prison toilet on Thursday (10 December). Soldati had been accused, along with another of the gang, with the shooting of a policeman in a Milan railway station last month. An investigation has been ordered by the Italian Justice Ministry. The trial of Soldati's alleged comrades in Bergamo is expected to last several weeks.