Legal rights in case of arrest in Italy

Below we publish the legal advice we have received from Studio Legale Annino for anyone who is detained by the forces of law and order in Italy, as in the case of the ex-pat photographer arrested at the Colosseum on 27 July.

Our advice to expats living in or visiting Italy involved in incidents such as this one would be to avoid confrontation but to demand that their rights be observed.  

1. Foreign nationals have the right to contact their consulate and report their arrest and request assistance. Procedurally the police should also report it to the relevant consulate / embassy within 12 hours of the arrest. They have the right to an interpreter.

2. Under Article 386 of the penal code (Codice di procedura penale) the person has the right to request legal representation and demand that their lawyer be present during any questioning.

3. Under Article 387 of the same code the person has the right to contact their family.  

In Italy one may not be detained for longer than 48 hours unless the period is sanctioned by a judge.  

It is also advisable to carry a copy of your passport with a clear visa reflecting that one has legally entered the country or copy of your permesso di soggiorno to avoid unnecessary identification processes that lengthen the period of detention by police.  

In addition to this both expats and citizens who suffer maltreatment or unacceptable behaviour from any government official ie. police should report it to the Civil Defender (Difensore Civico) of the region in which the incident took place.

The contact details for Lazio are as follows:  

Regione Lazio – Ufficio del Difensore Civico

Via della Pisana 1301 00163 Roma

Fax : 06 65932015

e-mail : difensore.civico@regione.lazio.it

PEC : difensorecivico@cert.consreglazio.it