13 June 2019 :
For the "Hands off Cain" association, which for years has been involved, with the Radical Party, in the abolition of the life sentence, the judgment of the European Court for Human Rights in the case of Marcello Viola vs Italy is a historical pronouncement.
The Court has in fact affirmed that the “ergastolo ostativo” (life in prison without possibility of early release) is contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention for Human Rights which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment. In fact, according to the Court, “ergastolo ostativo” is a form of perpetual incompressible punishment.
With this sentence the ECHR empties Article 4 bis of the Italian penitentiary system, which provides for an automatic barrier to penitentiary benefits, alternative measures to prison and conditional release in the absence of collaboration with the justice system. The ECHR rejects the idea that collaboration with justice under Article 58 ter o.p. may be the only criterion for assessing the prisoner's repentance.
The Court also considers this a structural problem of the Italian legal system and calls for the implementation of legislation on the subject.
For Sergio D'Elia, Secretary of Hands Off Cain: "The success of the EDU Court is the prelude to what must happen before the Italian Constitutional Court that on October 22nd will discuss the “ergastolo ostativo” starting from the Cannizzaro case, in which Hands Off Cain was admitted as an intervening party. The thought can only go to Marco Pannella, to his Spes contra Spem who animated us and fed us in these years, and to the prisoners of the Opera prison, protagonists of Ambrogio Crespi's documentary "Spes contra Spem - Liberi dentro" which they have been hope against all hope, thereby freeing the minds of the Strasbourg judges as well as themselves."