Stefano Cucchi: the tragic death and murder of a Lazio fan
On October 15th, 2009, Lazio fan Stefano Cucchi was arrested by the police for drug dealing. He was found in possession of 21 grams of hashish, three packets of cocaine, and a pill for his epilepsy. In view of the illegal drugs in his possession, Cucchi was taken into custody. At the time of his arrest, he weighed 43 kilograms and was not injured in any way. The day after his arrest, Cucchi was sent for trial: at his hearing, he was unstable and showed signs of having being beaten. The judge hearing the case decided that a further hearing was necessary and Cucchi, despite signs of ill-health, was transferred to the Regina Coeli prison to await his second hearing. However, after this initial hearing, Stefano Cucchi’s condition worsened and he was taken to the hospital where they noted bruising and other injuries to Cucchi’s legs and face. His jaw had been fractured and he had a ruptured bladder that had caused internal bleeding. In addition, two of Cucchi’s vertebrae had been fractured. In view of these injuries, the hospital requested that Cucchi be admitted for treatment but it was refused by, it is claimed, Cucchi himself.
On October 22nd, just one week after his arrest, Stefano Cucchi died at the age of 31. At the time of his death, his weight had fallen to 37 kilograms. Prison staff denied subjecting Cucchi to violence claiming that the cause of Cucchi’s death could have been either drug abuse, Cucchi’s state of health, or his refusal to be admitted to hospital. However, there is no chance that this was the case at all. Cucchi’s family published photographs of their deceased son lying on a mortuary table on social media and it was soon picked up by media stations. His state of malnutrition as well as signs of physical abuse were evident from the images… Investigators found that Cucchi died from a combination of injuries resulting from physical abuse and the absence of medical treatment; a total of 13 people were investigated in connection with Cucchi’s death.
On November 14th, 2009, three prison guards were charged with manslaughter and three doctors found themselves facing charges of having contributed to Cucchi’s death through the omission of medical assistance. The trial, which ended in June of 2013, found four doctors from the Sandro Pertini hospital guilty of manslaughter and another guilty of making a false statement. The court acquitted six others, including nurses and prison guards, with the court finding that they had not contributed to Cucchi’s death. An appeal was lodged and the hearing overturned the decision of the lower court and acquitted all those accused of wrongdoing in the Cucchi case. Stefano Cucchi’s sister, outraged by the decision, announced an appeal to Italy’s highest court. In light of both the findings of the lower court and of the acquittal by the appeal court, Ilaria Cucchi is questioning whether Italian justice is just and public opinion is with her. After her many media appearances, Italy’s prison guard’s union decided to even sue Ilaria Cucchi for instigating hatred against prison guards.
In January of 2017, prosecutors are now saying that Cucchi was unlawfully killed. It is believed that three members of Italy’s Carabinieri police who arrested Cucchi are allegedly responsible for punching, slapping and kicking him. There is no news on when this will appear in court, although the other officers appear to have lied to cover up for their colleagues’ violent treatment of Cucchi. The cause of death is now believed to have been a fall resulting from a punch. The whole story about Stefano Cucchi has now become a movie, “On my skin,” that is available on Netflix.