Indian immigrant set on fire in Italy
Last updated 2-5-09 at 1:40 p.m.
ROME (AP) — Italian police have arrested three young men for
allegedly beating and setting on fire an Indian immigrant who was sleeping
on a train station bench in a seaside town near Rome, investigators
said Feb. 2.
The attack on the 35-year-old man in Nettuno sparked
outrage in Italy and fueled a debate on attitudes toward immigrants.
Carabinieri paramilitary police said the three
poured gasoline on the man early Feb. 1, and then set him on fire.
The man suffered severe burns on more than 40 percent
of his body, said Dr. Paolo Palombo, an official
of Sant’ Eugenio
hospital in Rome, where the immigrant was taken
for treatment. Palombo told SKY TG24 TV that the patient would undergo
skin grafts on Feb. 6 to help fight the danger of infection.
The mood among some citizens has turned ugly in
recent years following the arrest of immigrants
as suspects in several high-profile crimes, including
the slaying of an Italian admiral’s
wife in suburban Rome and the rape of a young Italian
woman in the countryside near Rome.
In a statement, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
warned against “any display and risk of xenophobia, racism and
Police said the suspects in the Nettuno attack
are ages 16, 19, and 29. Investigators said the suspects apparently
had been using drugs and alcohol.
Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government has been
cracking down on illegal immigration in Italy, which surveys
show many citizens link to crime.
His top security official, Interior Minister Roberto
Maroni, told reporters that the Nettuno violence “isn’t
a racist attack. It’s something worse.” He added that there
are a lack of fundamental values in society. (end)