The Italian Government’s Plans for Romanians: the Return of Collective Expulsions?

The Italian Government’s Plans for Romanians: the Return of Collective Expulsions?

"Is the Romanian bogeyman destined to become Italians' new nightmare?" This was the question raised by Maria Luisa Agnese in a Nov. 1 column in the Italian daily the Corriere della Sera, suggestively titled "The Specter of the 'Monsters' from Europe."

Two days earlier, on Oct. 30, Giovanna Reggiani, the 47-year-old wife of a navy officer, was found half-naked and barely alive in a ditch near the Tor di Quinto train station on the outskirts of Rome. Reggiani had been robbed and savagely beaten. Taken in a coma to the Sant'Andrea hospital, she would subsequently die there of her injuries. The police were alerted to the crime by a resident of an illegal encampment of Romanian Roma, or "gypsies," not far from the train station. Another resident of the same encampment, the 24-year-old Nicolae Romulus Mailat, would be charged with her murder. Led to Mailat by his countrywoman who first alerted them, the police would find him in blood-stained clothing and with scratches on his face. Mailat would confess only to having robbed Reggiani. An additional charge of sexual assault remains in suspense for the moment while awaiting the results of the autopsy.

The suspected murderer had a criminal record in Romania. Although Mailat had never been charged with such serious crimes, he was placed in a youth detention center at the age of 14 on account of a variety of misdemeanors and in 2006 he was sentenced to three years in prison for robbery. The sentence, however, was never carried out and Mailat left for Italy -- taking advantage of the liberty of movement enjoyed by Romanian citizens in the European Union since Romania joined the EU in January 2007.

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