I propose to take Questions Nos. 136 and 137 together.
I have received a report from the honorary consul-general in Milan concerning complaints by the two people to whom the questions relate, supported by a certificate from a doctor who examined one of them, about alleged assaults on them by police officers in a night club and in a police station after they were taken into custody on 23 January 2000. The complainants also allege that they were not allowed to make telephone calls and were refused interpretation facilities.
The honorary consul-general has reported that they were charged with refusing to give their identity details and with resisting the police. She has requested a copy of the police report.
On 2 February the Embassy in Rome sent a formal note to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing its concern about the alleged physical assaults and violent ill-treatment and the alleged refusal to allow telephone calls or to provide interpretation.
The embassy requested that the complaints be investigated and that the embassy be informed of the outcome.
It is open to the persons concerned to take the matter further by making civil complaints against the police. A list, supplied by the embassy, of English-speaking lawyers in Milan who could assist in that connection has been sent to them. It is not possible for the embassy itself to make a civil complaint.
I will let the Deputy have copies of the police report and of the response of the Foreign Ministry as soon as they are received.