It’s hard to swallow. The 151 years of imprisonment requested by the prosecutors clashes with the reality of a sentence that overturns the perspective and only has five sentences for the tragedy of the Hotel Rigopiano. A total of 10 years and 4 months, including minor sentences for lateral issues which, in fact, reduce to only three those responsible for the death of 29 people in the avalanche of January 18, 2017. And when tears and dismay only mount anger the police cordon saves the judge Gianluca Sarandrea from the attack. The revolt is led by Giampaolo Matrone, doubly a victim as a survivor and widower of Valentina, and Alessio Feniello, Stefano’s father, two of the best-known faces among those in Rigopiano who mourned their loved ones. «It’s your fault – shouts Matrone, who like the judge comes from Monterotondo -. Tonight when you go to bed you must remember everything.’ And down unrepeatable insults, “much, worse than that…”. These are the words of a desperate man who, six years later, sees the consolation of a sentence proportionate to the enormity of a tragedy vanish which even the breaking latest news verdict, in its apparent modesty, deems avoidable. He elbows and cries, in the courtroom that has hosted fifteen empty hearings since July 2019 before the actual start of the process with the abbreviated procedure.
The 29 empty chairs of the victims are being filled up in the courtroom
The former prefect Francesco Provolo and his officials leave the scene. The former president of the Province Antonio Di Marco was also acquitted and, above all, the regional managers who for over twenty years have been busy with the drafting of the avalanche danger map. The institutional levels responsible for the disconcerting chain of delays and underestimations repeatedly described are reduced to two. To collapse is the most serious hypothesis of culpable disaster. At the end of the indictment, only four requests for acquittal had been made. For the prosecution is a Caporetto.
Rigopiano sentence, chaos in the courtroom: the anger of relatives – Video
On a strictly procedural level, having established the judge’s belief that the majority of the defendants were extraneous, the penalties are not even light, considering the discount of a third party for the ritual and the predictable incidence of extenuating circumstances. Yet, paradoxically, the civil law aspect of the three pages of the device weighs the most: only the provisional payments in favor of the civil parties against the five defendants add up to a few hundred thousand euros. It is the prelude to a parallel legal battle that will soon unleash.
In the morning, at the opening of the decisive hearing, only a few absences in the always compact front of relatives and the pessimism of the more rational lawyers rippled a climate of general optimism. The hoped-for exemplary sentence, as a warning to the “never again” slogan chosen by the families of the victims, seemed practically already written. The turning point in the case probably came with the expert report on the causes of the avalanche which, albeit without clarity, did not exclude the earthquake factor. A worm that ended up corroding the entire prosecutor’s office.
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