Italy: migrant commits suicide 15 days after being assaulted
A 23-year-old Guinean hanged himself in the night from Saturday to Sunday in a migrant detention center (CPR) in Turin two weeks after being assaulted by three people in Ventimiglia. The man had been expelled from Italy.
The 23-year-old was in the town of Piedmont after being attacked in Ventimiglia (Imperia) on May 9 by three people who were identified and reported to the police. Turin prosecutors on Monday opened an investigation into the suicide.
23-year-old Guinean Musa Balde was assaulted on May 9 in Ventimiglia, possibly after he allegedly tried to grab something from a supermarket. On the night of May 22-23, he committed suicide at the Turin reception center in Corso Brunelleschi where he was taken after the attack.
Sources close to the case said he had been isolated to protect the health of other residents. He hanged himself using the sheets in his bedroom. On May 24, prosecutors in Turin opened an investigation into the suicide.
The May 9 attack
The immigrant of African origin was assaulted and run over in Via Ruffini, in downtown Ventimiglia, just behind the town hall and the border police station.
It took investigators less than 24 hours to interview witnesses, watch videos from supermarket and police station surveillance cameras and identify the three suspects who allegedly beat the young man. The attack was caught on video which went viral on social media.
The three men are Italian nationals, two Sicilians from Agrigento aged 28 and 39 and a 44-year-old man from Palmi, near Reggio Calabria. The suspects reside in Ventimiglia.
The men were charged with aggravated assault. They allegedly hit Balde in the head and face and kicked him in the abdomen while he was already lying down. Police seized video of the attack posted on social media, gathering the facts based on accounts provided by witnesses and footage from surveillance cameras.
Attempted theft charge
Balde, who was staying in Italy irregularly and had previously been deported from the country, allegedly attempted to steal a cell phone from one of the three suspects inside the supermarket.
Initially, the three men insulted Balde and then followed him. They took two hard plastic pipes, pinned him to a wall, and started hitting him. Many heard the young man’s screams and shouted from the balconies and windows to leave the man alone.
But the three attackers, although the young man was lying on the ground by then and unable to react in any way, continued to beat him and no one stopped them. The victim was then transported to Bordighera hospital and released with a 10-day prognosis of injuries and facial trauma. He was supposed to be deported once again, but suicide ended his difficult life.
Ombudsman said man was not being treated properly
Italy’s ombudsman for the rights of detainees, Mauro Palma, said officials failed to recognize the victim’s vulnerability and fragility. He said Balde was not treated “properly”.
“A person in public responsibility should be cared for and detained in a way that takes into account their specific situation, potential vulnerability and fragility. This has not happened,” said Palma.