INTRODUCTION: The trial of nearly 80 alleged conspirators accused of a bizaree Neo-Fascist plot to overthrow the Italian government in 1970 began in Rome on Monday (30 May).
INTRODUCTION: The trial of nearly 80 alleged conspirators accused of a bizaree Neo-Fascist plot to overthrow the Italian government in 1970 began in Rome on Monday (30 May). Most of them, however, are not in court, and are being tried in their absence. Twenty six of them escaped arrest and are ???iding in Italy and abroad.
SYNOPSIS: Only 28 of the accused, including four generals, appeared in court. The court house is a converted gymnasium in central Rome, and is heavily guarded.
The accused face charges of conspiring in, or aiding and abetting, an armed insurrection, attempted kidnapping, and withholding information about the attempted coup from the government.
The coup attempt was led by the late Prince Julio Valerio Borghese, a former aide of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Another prominent figure was General Vito Miceli a former head of the Italian Sedret Service. He is now a member of Parliament for Italy's Neo-Fascist Social Movement Party. His alleged cover-up of the coup attempt led to questions about whether the Secret Service had been actively supporting the right-wing plotters.
A chief defendant is the former Colonel of the armed Forest Rangers, Luciano Berti, who was carried into the courtroom on a stretcher. More than 200 people, among them Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, ex-president Gi???seppe Saragat and former Defence Minister Mario Tanassi have been called as witnesses.
According to the State prosecutor, the conspirators briefly occupied the Interior Ministry's armoury, but the coup was inexplicably called off in its initial stages. The indictment also said about 200 Forest Rangers were standing by to occupy the headquarters of the state radio and television stations.