Operation Bialystok

Following an investigation initiated by the Rome Public Prosecutor’s Office and called operation “Bialystok,” seven anarchists were arrested in Italy, Spain and France on June 12, 2020, while the Bencivenga Occupato anarchist squat in Rome and some homes were searched. Two people were placed under house arrest, while five others were detained in prison. The five people under arrest in prison are charged with “subversive association for the purposes of terrorism and subversion”, “instigation to commit crimes” and other minor offences (all aggravated by the terrorist subversive purpose) mainly concerning some initiatives in solidarity with the defendants of the “Panico” trial in Florence. The repressive operation is the work of the ROS (“Special Operational Grouping”) of Carabinieri and of the Prosecutor’s Office of Rome. The name of the operation is taken from the title of the book Anarchici di Bialystok 1903-1908 (Edizioni Bandiera Nera, 2018).

Part of the charges relate to two actions: one of the five who are in prison is charged with “act of terrorism with deadly or explosive devices” and “instigation to commit crimes” in reference to the explosive attack against the Carabinieri barracks in the San Giovanni neighbourhood, an action claimed by the Cellula “Santiago Maldonado” / FAI–FRI (Rome, December 7, 2017); while the comrade under house arrest is charged with an incendiary attack against three Enjoy cars, the carsharing service linked to ENI, Italian multinational oil and gas company (Rome, February 28, 2019). The other comrade placed under house arrest, who is also a defendant in the “Panico” trial, was released by order of the review court (he is charged with “conduct with the aim of terrorism”). The latter two comrades, who were placed under house arrest on June 12, 2020, are not charged with the crime of subversive association that the other five are accused of.

The investigation started with the action against the Carabinieri barracks in the San Giovanni neighbourhood in Rome, and then evolved into the monitoring of the Bencivenga Occupato. The ROS carabinieri thus hypothesised the existence of a “cell” that from August 2018 would have been based at the occupied space and that from there would have promoted “subversive activities” mainly through a series of initiatives in solidarity with the defendants in the “Panico” trial. The other specific charges against the five who are in prison relate to two written texts that the ROS have placed at the basis of the charge of subversive association with the purposes of terrorism, the organisation of three demonstration meetings under the walls of the prisons of La Spezia and Sollicciano in Florence (La Spezia, October 7 and November 18, 2018, and Florence, December 31 of the same year), an unauthorized solidarity demonstration (La Spezia, January 5, 2019), some wall writings and sticking up of posters (Teramo, February 8, 2019, and Rome, February 12, 2019), a theft of cement bags (Rome, February 6, 2019), the elaboration of two texts published in view of the initiative “From the underground,” a hip hop music festival held at the Bencivenga (Rome, March 2019), a greeting to the inmates under the women’s Rebibbia prison at the end of the “From underground” initiative (Rome, March 31, 2019) and the blocking of the eviction of a house (Rome, January-March 2019).

As of 04/27/2021, all except for Claudio all were released from prison, some of them subject to conditions.

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