Tuesday, February 03, 2009

And YOU thought you had a lot of red-tape bureaucracy?

You have to feel sorry for yet another “Rodney Dangerfield” of Italy: a poor Kurdish fellow holed up in a jail in Trieste, fed up of a situation that was going nowhere, decided to rip up some pillowcases into small strips, tie them together and hang himself. Things were going roughly according to plan when all of a sudden the prison guards saw what was going on and saved him from a sure death.

Perhaps happy (or not, that remains to be seen), the Kurd was eventually released from prison and even obtained political asylum, but along the way has to pay the Italian state some money. For the time spent in jail? Obviously not. No, he has to pay 7 euros, for the torn pillowcases! A rather honest fellow, and evidently glad that someone eventually saved his life after all, he pays the whopping fee of 7 euros. There begins a rather “Dantesque/Kafkesque inferno for the man: State judges feel that his “crime” is rather severe and that he has brought “damage to goods belonging to the Italian Public Service”. In other words, the 7 euros will not suffice and even though he was taken up by suicidal thoughts, that isn`t enough to warrant the destruction of public property, so the fine is instead jacked up to 30 euros!

Is the case finally resolved? No siree. Three, yes, three judges get together behind closed doors to carefully study the case. The verdict is that the “law is the law”! and the Kurd cannot be left off the hook and must pay the fine. But there`s a small light at the end of the Kurd`s tunnel: no longer is the fine 30 euros but it`s been “discounted” to 25 euros! The case may just now be turned over to a higher court (!!!!).

And then one wonders why in Italy the judicial system not only doesn`t work properly but that more complicated cases (such as those involving murders or terrorism) drag on for years and even decades?