19 April 2017

Freedom for Gabriele Del Grande: Initiatives in Sicily

After days of waiting in vain for a quick solution to the events which have seen our friend Gabriele Del Grande detained for 10 days in a detention centre in Turkey, deprived of all his rights, Borderline Sicilia (non-profit) is supporting the mobilisation launched by Gabriele and his family. There will be a demonstration in front of the prefecture in Catania on April 20th, at 5pm.

At the same time a parallel demonstration will take place in Palermo. During the march against the Hotspot, the Minniti-Orlando decree and the G7, organised by the “Abbattiamo i muri” network (Break Down The Walls), a banner will be unfolded, demanding freedom for the Italian journalist illegally detained in Turkey.

Call for the Immediate Liberation of Gabriele Del Grande
We express our deep concern regarding the events which have effected the Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande since April 10th. He remains detained by Turkish authorities in a detention centre for foreigners on the border with Syria.

Gabriele was arrested for breaching an administrative law, following which Turkey should have expelled him from national territory.

Instead, we have learned today that the diplomatic dialogue which has taken place over the past few days has failed to resolve the situation. The result is that Gabriele has now been deprived of his personal freedom for 9 days. He has not been given the possibility to name a lawyer nor speak with his family. It is for these reasons that he has decided to commence a hunger strike.

We believe it is unacceptable that a journalist be detained and deprived of his fundamental rights simply because his work is perceived as inconvenient to a foreign government, even in a country where the rule of law has been annulled.

We ask that Italian authorities push for a quick end to this episode, and to prevent Gabriele’s detention from being used by Erdogan’s Turkey as the latest method to blackmail Italy and Europe. We await Gabriele’s return back home so that he can continue the important investigations and reports which have distinguished his work over the years.

Borderline Sicilia
ASGI, Sicilian section
Catania Antiracist Forum
Quetzal cooperative/La Bottega Solidale, Modica
Filieque Iblee, Modica
Evangelical Baptist Christian Church, Catania
Evangelical Waldensian Church, Catania
Gammazita Cultural Association, Catania
Communist Refoundation Party, Catania
No MUOS Regional Coordination
Città Futura, Catania

Gabriele Del Grande

Born in Lucca, Del Grande moved to Bologna, graduating in Oriental Studies. In 2006 he established the ‘Fortress Europe’ observatory, along with an accompanying online blog. The blog lists all of the individual fatal events and shipwrecks cited in European and North African media from 1998 onwards, along with links to trustworthy sources relating to the episode, in order to provide further information about the event to the site’s users.

Del Grande’s work represents the main monitoring of such events on a European level. All successive monitoring work has been largely based on the data provided by ‘Fortress Europe’, as connected data projects recognise.

As a journalist, even if not a member of the official Italian journalists’ association (Ordine dei giornalisti), he has collaborated with Unità, Redattore Sociale and Peace Reporter. With the publishing house Infinito Edizioni has has published Mamadou va a morire (Mamadou Goes to Die), 2007; Il mare di mezzo (The Sea in the Middle), 2010: and Roma senza fissa dimora (Rome Without Fixed Abode), 2009. In 2013 he provided reporting on the Syrian civil war, published by Internazionale.

In 2014, in collaboration with Antonio Augugliaro and Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry, he produced the documentary Io sto con la sposa (‘On The Bride’s Side’), which narrated the true story of five Palestinian and Syrian refugees. Having landed at Lampedusa, they faked a wedding, involving a Palestinian friend and a dozen pretend invitees, in order to get to Sweden. Disguised in this manner the crossed half of Europe between November 14th and 18th, all the way to Stockholm. When he was arrested in Turkey he was gathering material and stories about the Syrian war for his latest project, the book Un partigiano mi disse (‘A Partisan Told Me’).

Translated by Richard Braude
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