portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

human & civil rights

Statement of Oregon woman beaten and jailed in Genoa

Morgan Hager (and her friend, Sherman Sparks) were brutally beaten during the midnight raid on the Genoa Social Forum school building two weeks ago. This is her notarized statement, send to the American Consulate.
STATEMENT OF
MORGAN KATHERINE HAGER



STATE OF OREGON )
) ss.
County of Multnomah )


I, MORGAN KATHERINE HAGER, being first duly sworn, do depose and say as
follows:

The following is a summary of what I recall about the incidents of the
morning of Sunday, July 22nd and the events that followed. Even though
I was injured and afraid at the time, my memories are clear (although
some minor details may be inaccurate). This statement focuses on what I
directly experienced or saw. When I refer to events I didn't directly
experience or see, I have so indicated.

Sherman Sparks and I, together with our friend Angeline, traveled to
Genoa and participated in the peaceful protest marches there. We at no
time engaged in any violence against persons or property. The G8 ended
on Saturday, July 21st, and about 9 or 10 p.m. on Saturday night,
Sherman and I went back to the school in Genoa where we had slept the
night before. We were looking for Angeline. Angeline was not there, so
I checked my e-mail and sent an e-mail to my parents, telling them that
everything was fine, the protests had ended, we were safe, and we were
going to leave Genoa first thing the next morning. We considered
joining Angeline, who was sleeping at another location (one of many
camps in and around Genoa), but by this time we were too tired to find
another place to sleep. Anyway, we thought the school would be the
safest place to sleep. The camps didn't seem to be safe because we had
been told the police had visited them on a number of occasions and the
encounters were not pleasant, although not violent. Also, the school
was across the street from the Indy Media Center that housed the media,
took care of the injured, etc., so we perceived that the closeness gave
the school some protection.

Sherman and I lay down in our sleeping bags on the first floor at about
11:00 p.m. We fell asleep. I can't remember if Sherman woke me, or if
I woke because of all the noise. Regardless, I woke to crashing and
yelling outside. There was chaos everywhere. People were running
around trying to collect their belongings. There was a great deal of
noise: The police were breaking down the doors and smashing the
windows. I later heard that someone had barracaded the doors after the
trouble started out in the street and at the media center. I quickly
began collecting my belongings, but I didn't manage to get my shoes on
or collect my belongings before the police entered the room.

Sherman and I were sleeping behind a wall so we did not have a view of
the main entrance to the school. Across the room, the people sleeping
there had a direct view of the entry. The first thing I noticed was
that the people across the room, which was the largest group of people
in the room (there were many more scattered throughout the room), were
getting down on their knees and putting their hands up in signs of peace
or non-resistence/surrender. All of those across the room, about 15 in
total, were doing that. Sherman and I immediately did the same thing.

The police rushed into the room. They were dressed in dark clothing,
and may have had protective vests, etc. under their clothing because
they looked exceedingly bulky. They wore helmets with plastic face
covers (riot helmets, I think). They wore heavy boots, gloves, and
carried batons (clubs). I am certain no skin was showing on any of
them. I later learnd that these police were part of an anti-terrorist
force called the DIGOS. I know the Italian press has reported that 20
policemen were hospitalized after the raid on the school, but that is
difficult to believe based on what I saw and experienced.

The first thing I recall the police doing was kicking a chair into the
group of people kneeling on the floor. I could hear things smashing
this whole time. A few police (5 or 7 or so) ran into the room. One
came over to our corner and, as I was kneeling with my hands extended,
he kicked me in the side of the head, knocking me to the floor. Sherman
and another man who had been sleeping near us helped me back up to my
knees. Another policeman came to where I was kneeling and started
beating me with his club. I was up against the wall, and I curled over
with my right side against the wall and my hands and arms covering my
head for protection. I tried not to move because I thought he would
stop beating me sooner if I lay still. I am not sure how many policemen
were beating me. I looked up and saw Sherman being beaten. After they
stopped beating us, Sherman and I lay curled up by the wall for about
five minutes or so. I think at this point the police were bringing
people down from the upper two floors.

I noticed that there was a lot of blood around us, and that blood was
smeared on the wall. I think it was our blood because we were both
bleeding from the head, and I was bleeding from my hands and wrists.
About 5 minutes later, the police ordered everyone in the room to go
over against the opposite wall. As I was walking across the room to do
so, the policeman who told us to move struck me in the butt with his
club. We all curled up against the opposite wall. At this point I
noticed that my bleeding right hand was swollen, and my little finger
was sticking out at a strange angle. Shermans eyes looked glazed and
he wasnt responding to questions normally.

We sat against the wall as more people were herded into the room and
basically piled up with us against the wall. All had been beaten, and
some had to be carried down the stairs by others who had also been
beaten. I was shaking and couldnt stop. We stayed against the wall
for 5 or 10 minutes more until paramedics in orange suits started
arriving. (I was told later that they were volunteers -- not working
for the government). By the time the paramedics started arriving, the
original policemen who had done the beatings were gone and the room was
full of different police wearing the Carabinieri uniforms (basically
riot police).

Every once in a while, the police would take a few people out of the
room, making them walk with their hands above their heads and shouting
at them and pushing them out. The paramedics began laying the most
severely injured out on sleeping rolls and covering them with sleeping
bags. Eventually, they got stretchers into the room. All the
paramedics did was pass around some rags with disinfectant because they
were not equipped to deal with the number and severity of the injuries.

I smelled human excrement and blood in the room as I lay against the
wall. The man to our left had a severely broken arm and I could see the
bone ends pushing up on his skin. It was enormously swollen and he was
in extreme pain. The people to our right: one man was bleeding from
the head and waivering in and out of consciousness. A girl curled onto
the floor and was shaking.

The paramedics told us that everyone who didn't need to go to the
hospital was to move to one side. Initially I didn't want to go to the
hospital, so Sherman and I moved to that side of the room. The
paramedic stopped us and told us we needed to go to the hospital.

People were being carried out on stretchers and, about 30 minutes
later, we walked out behind the stretcher of the man with the broken
arm. Outside the courtyard of the school, there were very large
numbers of police, and they were lining up as if to create barriers. I
saw some media people and saw flashes from cameras, etc. I covered my
face. People were in the windows of the media center and behind the
lined up police, and they were yelling assassini. (assassins).

We walked about a block through more police to an ambulance. I could
not see where we were going because the windows of the ambulance were
opaque. When we got out of the ambulance at San Martino Hospital, I
was put in a wheelchair and Sherman was put on a stretcher. Our
passports were immediately taken away.

At some point, I was put onto a stretcher bed and pushed into a room
where I took my shirt off and they disinfected the wounds on my back,
head, and hands. They pulled off as many of my bracelets as would come
off. This was extremely painful because both of my hands were so
swollen. They took my pants and gave me a hospital gown. They pushed
my bed back out into the hallway, which was lined on each side with
people on beds and Carabinieri. I lay there for an hour or two (time is
hard to measure) before being taken for
xrays.

During the time I lay there, I talked to several others in the hall. I
got up and went over to Sherman, but I was told to return to my bed.
Sherman got up to go to the bathroom, and they took his bed away so he
had to lay down on a metal bench.

I had about seven x-rays: both hands, head, chest, ribs, legs, and
back (as best I recall). The person who did the x-rays spoke no
English; he would just grab me and push me to get into position. It
hurt a great deal. When he was x-raying my hands, he wanted them flat
on a screen and he tried to force them flat. I cried out in pain.
Neither hand would go flat because of the injuries. Finally, his
assistant stopped him and said roto (which means broken). After the
x-rays, they pushed me back into the hallway.

They told me one bone in my hand had two fractures and that my ribs
were also fractured. (After my parents arrived in Italy, I saw another
doctor, had new x-rays, and was referred to an orthopedist: three
different bones in my right hand are fractured). Both hands and my left
forearm were terribly swollen. I was in pain during this time.

At this point, I really started noticing the police (they were the
Carabinieri, which are paramilitary riot police). I went to sleep and
woke up to see three policemen standing there staring at me from across
the hall. I was told that police in the hallways were slapping their
clubs into the palms of their hands as threats to those in the beds as
they roamed up and down the halls, and also that they were tapping the
beds with their clubs.

After another long while, I was taken to have a cast put on my hand and
was then returned to the hallway. I was semi-delerious at this point
and drifting in and out of sleep.

The American consul came to see me while I was in the hallway. I don't
remember the conversation very well. He asked if I wanted my parents
informed and I remember saying that I didn't until I knew where I was
going to be put. He gave me his card, which I put in my wallet. I woke
up being pushed on a stretcher down a hallway into emptier parts of the
hospital. It frightened me because I didn't know where I was going. I
asked the orderly in Italian several times where we were going and he
ignored me. I remember being afraid that I was being taken somewhere to
be beaten again. They put me into a room at about 6 a.m. I slept, but
kept waking up and realizing that I was in different places. I remember
that they took blood. They then put me in a room with a Canadian girl
from the school and I slept until about 10 a.m. My clothes had been
sitting on a table in the room, and when I woke up everything was gone
from my pockets except my wallet, which had been emptied of everything
except the money and my identification. They also took the card the
American consul had given me. At all times, our room was guarded by
Carabinieri, who prevented us from moving around or looking out of the
window; eventually ordered us to sit on our beds. Basically, the
hospital had been turned into a prison.

The Canadian girl and I were taken to get a CT scan. We were then
fed. I was not offered pain medication. We were told to dress, and
then escorted from the hospital room and handcuffed together. In the
hallway, we were turned over to detention center officers. When I
shifted around in the handcuffs to try to get them off the cuts on my
wrist that was not in a cast, the detention officers tightened the
handcuffs. They grabbed us by the handcuffs and pulled us to the
transport van. When we arrived at the detention center, they pulled us
out of the van by the handcuffs. As we were being led through the lobby
of the detention center, an officer came up and grabbed me by the back
of the head. He pushed and held my head downward and yelled something
in Italian.

We were never told we were under arrest and never told that we had any
rights.

We were put into a detention cell (a square room with a stone floor and
no furnishings at all) with about 7 or 8 others from the school, both
male and female. We were all very afraid that we were going to be
beaten again. Eventually they came and took the males away and brought
in about 20-25 females, all of whom had come from the school.

During this time, they came and took people out one by one for
fingerprinting and processing. They told me to sign some papers when I
was being fingerprinted, but I refused. The papers were in Italian.

Some girls who had been in there since the night before had not yet
been given water or food. About four hours later, we were each given a
ham sandwich and water. At about midnight, they gave us 4 or 5 blankets
for all of us (we numbered about 31 by then). The windows of the cell
were covered by bars and screens only, and the wind was blowing. It was
very cold in the cell, and we were trying to sleep on stone floors with
our various injuries.

During the whole time, we were repeatedly told differing stories about
what was going to happen to us. Sometimes they said wed be free the
next day; sometimes they said wed be in jail for at least a week;
sometimes they said they were going to start taking each of us out
individually for interviews to see if we would go free; sometimes they
said they were going to take us to a different jail that night to sleep
and shower.

In the middle of the night, they started taking people out of the cell
one by one again. I dont believe anyone was brought back. My turn
came around daylight. I was taken into a room where they took my belt
by cutting my belt loops. (They had returned my clothes at some point
before this). They told me to take out my earrings, so I took out the
ones that I could given the fact that my hands were too injured to do
much. They made me take my clothes off and stand in front of a man who
then asked me if I did drugs or had any health problems. I was taken to
another room where they again demanded I take out the rest of my
earrings (the ones that remained were thick metal that I could not bend
to take out), and all I could tell them was that I could not and gesture
at my cast. A guy came in with a knife and gestured that he would just
cut them out. Eventually, the two guards bent the earrings enough to
take them off and threw them in the garbage. Then they used scissors to
cut my hair off (they left a ragged inch or so all over my head). They
then put me into a different cell that already contained some of the
girls who had been called out in the middle of the night from the first
cell.

About noon, I think, they gave us ham and cheese sandwiches and some
fruit. Then I was taken out of the cell again and put in a cell by
myself. I didnt know why. One of the guards said that maybe I would
go free (which, of course, turned out not to be true). While in the
cell by myself, I was visited by the American consuls assistant. She
told me that my parents had called. She said there were lawyers who
were looking into our cases. After I met with her, I was taken to
another van and was then joined by about 20 girls who had been in the
cell with me. We were transported to Voghera Prison.

We were all put into another holding cell and called out one by one to
go to our cell assignments. I was one of the last to be called, but I
had drifted in and out of sleep so I am not sure how long this process
took. I am sure it was at least four hours. I was put into a cell with
three other females from Spain, Canada, and England.

At this point, differentiating the days is very difficult. Basically,
I spent one night in the detention center, two full nights in Voghera
Prison, and was transported from Voghera to Pavia Prison at about
midnight on the third night.

At Voghera, I was fed regularly, had access to a bathroom, and was
taken to the yard twice a day for about 45 minutes. I slept on a cot
and was given a blanket. I was again visited by the American consul on
the second day at Voghera and at this visit I waived my rights under the
Italian privacy act so the consul could discuss my situation in detail
with my parents.

The first night at Voghera, the Italian prisoners were released.

During one of the recesses in the yard, a priest came to us with
information about charges being made against us, and a list of weapons
the Italian police claimed were found in the school. The weapons listed
that I remember were things like Swiss army knives, wallet chains,
helmets, sticks (I know there were sticks there that had been taken from
banners), and metal poles (the Canadian girl I was with said she saw
police cutting open backpacks and taking poles out of the frames). They
also said they found two Molotov cocktails.


On the third day, I had a preliminary hearing at the prison. This is
the first time I saw my lawyer, and was allowed a two minute session
alone with him only after I asked for it. I answered questions from the
judge and made a statement to the judge about what had happened to me at
the school, the detention center, and in prison. I was formally told
the charges against me, which the judge said were resisting arrest,
being part of a criminal organization, causing bodily harm to the
police, and possession of weapons. I understood that according to
Italian law, after the first appearance before a judge, I was entitled
to a phone call, which I didn't get. I was taken back to my cell.

Later, we were brought down one by one to hear the verdicts in our
cases. I was told that I was free to go and would be released in one to
two hours. There was no mention of deportation. We waited for many
hours in our cell for the anticipated release. Finally, they took us
downstairs where they gave us bags with what was left of what was on our
persons when we were taken to the hospital. They had us sign a paper
saying everything was there. My Italian money that had been in my
wallet was gone, and they explained that it had been taken to pay for
anything I wanted to purchase in the prison. (I purchased nothing).
They said they would keep an accounting and mail the remainder back to
me. (My friend Angeline recovered my backpack, boots, sketchbook and
coat from the school after the police had finished searching; however,
all of my other belongings, including $200 in American money, $300 in
travelers checks, and my return airline ticket, were missing).

We were put into another holding cell and then taken one by one to a
police van and driven to Pavia Prison. On this ride, the police talked
loudly in praising terms of Mussolini and Pinochet. They took us into
Pavia Prison and put us into a small room where eventually the German
consul came and informed the German citizens of their deportation.
Nobody ever told me I was deported. I didnt know what was going on at
this point, but we stayed in Pavia for 5-7 hours. One by one, we were
again photographed and fingerprinted and told to sign a deportation
order. Eventually we were reunited with the males who had been
incarcerated at Pavia Prison. We all waited in a room until we were
taken to another police van. We were taken to a small airport in Milan
(no USA flights) and left there by the police. I heard a rumor that we
had 24 hours to leave the country, but was never told that directly.
The deportation papers actually said (as translated by the American
consul) that we had been taken to the border and were to leave the
country immediately from there. This was not true, but we would not
have been able to prove to the police, if we had been stopped, that we
were left at an airport in Milan with no money, not at the border. None
of us had any money, and some had no passports. Two volunteers from a
human rights group offered to take us to a safe house to sleep and to
try to make arrangements to leave the country. We went to the safe
house for the night. Sherman and I were reunited with our parents at
the American Consulate the following day.

Sherman and I both saw a private physician and specialists the next
day. I suffered extreme bruising on the left side of my body (the right
side was not bruised because it was pushed into the wall) and on my back
and buttocks. My arms and hands were very severly bruised because I had
covered my head with them. Three bones in my right hand were
fractured. I flew home with my parents on July 28th.

Although I am grateful for the large amount of media attention the
beatings have received in Italy and the rest of Europe, because I am
sure the attention hastened our release, I also realize that the focus
has been drawn away from the overarching issues and reasons for our
presence in Genoa in the first place. I sincerely regret this.


__________________________________
Morgan Katherine Hager


SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 30th day of July, 2001.


___________________________________
Notary Public for Oregon
My Commission Expires:____________