Porto Azzurro, a prison under seizure

An attempt to escape, a group of inmates who kidnap 33 hostages, a seven-day negotiation: these are the ingredients of “Porto Azzurro, a prison under sequestration”, the documentary produced by Stand by me for Rai Documentari broadcast on Friday 16 September in prime time on Rai 2, which tells for the first time the chronicle of the revolt that took place inside the prison on the Island of Elba in August 1987. The docu-film inaugurates “Criminal Italy: when the chronicle makes history “, the first series of Rai Documentaries on seven recent criminal episodes in Italian history that have aroused great clamor in public opinion, broadcast every Friday until October 28 in prime time on Rai 2. Curated by Lorenzo de Alexandris and directed by Jovica Nonkovic, written by Alessandro Giordano and Emanuele Mercurio, the documentary traces a story that has kept the whole country in suspense, through precious films and archive images and interviews and exclusive to the kidnapped and to the commando leader, the black terrorist Mario Tuti. In 1987 the Porto Azzurro prison, on the Island of Elba (LI), was considered a real model: the prisoners were involved in various activities, both recreational and working, aimed at rehabilitation and their reintegration into society. The atmosphere inside the institute was serene and the relationship between inmates and prison guards relaxed and collaborative. All this lasted until the morning of August 25, 1987, when a group of six inmates, led by Mario Tuti, broke guns in hand inside the concierge of the institute and took the director and the agents present hostage, with the intention to take possession of the director’s armored car, head towards the port and try to escape. The failure of the evasion, thanks to an agent who manages to raise the alarm, turns into the kidnapping of 33 people – 5 civilians, 17 prison guards and 11 inmates – and starts a tug-of-war between the kidnappers and the State that will last seven days and that in the documentary is told by the voice of those who have experienced firsthand an event destined to enter the collective memory of the country: the director of the prison Cosimo Giordano, the prison guards Luciano Baffoni and Luciano Buono and the social worker Rossella Giazzi, the only woman among the 33 hostages, the surveillance magistrate in Livorno Antonietta Fiorillo, who managed the negotiation from outside the prison together with a pool of colleagues, and Mario Tuti, the head of the commando, who was detained in Porto Azzurro for the murder of two police officers and that of a detainee in the Novara prison (in 1986 Mario Tuti was sentenced on appeal for the Italicus massacre, sentence later canceled by the C gardens of Cassation in 1987 and then definitively in 1992). The tension experienced in those days outside the prison is traced through the voices of other employees of the institute, experts and journalists, including the current director of the Tirreno Stefano Tamburini, then a young reporter, and the historical journalist of Tg1 Paolo Di Giannantonio.

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Porto Azzurro, a prison under seizure


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