On Tuesday 25 August 2020, Carla, arrested on 26 July, was finally extradited to Italy. She is now incarcerated in Vigevano prison, near Milan, in the AS3 module (alta sicurezza 3).
This high-security isolation section is initially reserved for prisoners accused of belonging to the mafia. Since the closure of the aquila, the AS2 sections, reserved for detainees considered political by the state, hardly exist for women, with the exception of Rebbibia (Rome) where Flavia and Anna are. Anna is only there for a few weeks because the Italian state has chosen to dispatch the companions, which is why most of them, including Carla, end up in AS3.
Carla wrote a letter from Fresnes prison which we reproduce below.
Let us continue to write to her and express our solidarity!
To write to her :
casa circondariale di Vigevano Centralino
via Gravellona 240
27029 Vigevano (PV), Italy
After 536 days on the run, I was arrested on July 26th near Saint-Etienne. I experienced the arrest as the first performance of a scene repeated a thousand times in my head, or rather 536 times? Everything seemed to happen in slow motion: the hooded cops pointing their rifles at me, put me down and ask me the name that I’ve so often been called lately. It felt strange to pronounce it.
I was then brought to Paris by the SDAT [Anti-Terrorist Sub-Directorate], four hours of travel handcuffed behind my back in the company of their balaclavas. They blindfolded me for the last few kilometers that separated us from their premises in Levallois-Perret. They were the ones who took me to court two days after the arrest, then to Fresnes prison.
At the hearing, I accepted the extradition without hesitation. I had followed the events surrounding the arrest of Vincenzo Vecchi (whom I greet in passing) closely, but he had refused, offering himself a chance to remain free in France. For me, the choice was between waiting for the trial in France or in Italy, where the other defendants in Operation Scintilla are, all of them free except Silvia, who is still under judicial supervision.
It seems that in recent times, arrest by means of a European arrest warrant and subsequent extradition have become mere formalities for the European justice system. We have seen this recently in Italy on several occasions, but also in the repression that followed the Hamburg riots or in Greece and Spain. European police forces are refining their weapons and their collaboration seems to be getting closer, exchanging tips and services. So it seems to me that it is up to us to look into the matter and study the mechanisms.
I discovered the prison at the time of the coronavirus, the regulation fortnight in the new arrivals’ quarter, the mask during all movements, including the walk for that length of time, the suspension of all activities, the cell 22 hours a day.
At the end of my fortnight, and on the eve of the scheduled date of my extradition, the other arrivals and I were placed in sanitary isolation on the grounds that we had shared a walk with a new arrival who turned out to be infected. Tests were only offered to us once this case was confirmed and have been the rule for all new arrivals ever since. We were initially told that they couldn’t test everyone. Unsurprisingly, it seems that the prison administration (PA) is behind schedule.
In the spring, the measures taken by the PA in response to the arrival of the coronavirus led to situations of mutinies, revolts and solidarity. Unfortunately, here at least, it seems that living with the virus has become the norm, and the fear that a newcomer could bring the virus with her is coupled with the fear of being suspended from the visiting rooms, as was the case with us this week. The meagre compensation that the PA gave in the form of telephone credit in the spring is no longer relevant, as a group of isolated newcomers is so small compared to the strong mobilisations of last March.
I’m expecting extradition again any day now and I know that a third isolation ward will probably be reserved for me when I arrive in Italy. I take advantage of the expressions of solidarity that join me today after so much silence. In spite of the publications on the subject, which are precious, the escape is still too often considered a romantic adventure and the companions concerned are often thought of as free. During this year and a half, I have never lacked solidarity and warm support, I have never lacked anything, but one is not free when one is deprived of one’s life.
I would have liked to have been on the street with my comrades during the demonstrations in reaction to the eviction of Asilo, I accompanied the hunger strike of Silvia, Anna and Natascia with my thoughts, I thought every day of the comrades arrested in successive waves. I would have liked to have been by my family’s side when they went through difficult times and to have heard from them when we were all confined. Today I am ready and determined to face the next few months, but my thoughts are with those who are still on the run, often far from their loved ones. I hope that their journey will be as long as they want it to be, and that the encounters they make will give them the warmth they deserve and the energy to continue to fight.
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