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Italian anti-war activists face jail under fascist era anti-terror laws

SCORES of anti-war activists in Italy could face jail when a group arrested on terrorism charges for opposing the “military occupation” of Sardinia goes on trial this week.

The A Foras activists branded the court case “an idiotic attack” by the Italian state designed to send a message to people ahead of a major anti-war demonstration planned next month.

More than 40 face charges, including two leaders of the group, Luisi Caria and Antonello Pabis, who organised anti-war summer camps.

They face charges of criminal association and are accused of “subversive anti-militarism.”

Terrorism charges are being brought under the notorious 270b law introduced during the fascist period.

“Under this idiotic attack, we are all terrorists,” the group said in a statement as they warned of a “betrayal of democracy.”

A Foras claimed that the prosecutor had sent papers relating to the case to the country’s biggest newspaper, before those facing trial were informed of the details.

Warning of a “trial by media,” the group said that the prosecution of the anti-war activists was deliberately timed to intimidate those planning a mass mobilisation against the militarisation of Sardinia on October 12.

“We know that the only purpose of this operation is to attack the movement fighting against the bases and military occupation of Sardinia, to weaken its spirit and determination,” the statement said.

Sardinia hosts 60 per cent of Italy’s military ranges, with bases serving not just the Italian military but Nato forces, including those of Germany, the United States and Britain.

One of the largest weapons-testing ranges and rocket-launching sites in the European Union, the Poligono Interforze di Salto di Quirra — estimated to take up 30,000 hectares of land plus 30,000 square km of coastline — is on the island.

A Foras was established in 2016 to oppose the military occupation of Sardinia.

The group’s aims are an end to military exercises, decommissioning of the military bases, compensation for those who have suffered from chemical pollution and the return of land expropriated by the military to its rightful owners.

Dozens of arrests were made last September when Italian special branch officers raided the homes of A Foras activists as part of a “counter-terrorism” operation.

Nonetheless, the group encouraged people to mobilise for the demonstration next month and said: “If freeing Sardinia from the destruction caused by the military is ‘terrorism,’ we are all terrorists.”

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