Italy outraged with death of young woman in latest suspected case of domestic violence

Rome, November 20

Italy has erupted in outrage over the death of a young woman, allegedly at the hands of her possessive ex-boyfriend, with the Italian premier vowing to crack down further on domestic violence that has claimed the lives of more than 50 women so far in 2023.

Police in Germany over the weekend arrested Filippo Turetta, who had been on the run since November 11, when he was last seen fighting with 22-year-old Giulia Cecchettin, hitting her in a physical attack that was captured by roadside video cameras.

Cecchettin’s body, reportedly with multiple stab wounds, was found wrapped in plastic on Saturday in a ditch near Lake Barcis, in the province of Pordenone north of Venice.

Italian newspapers had been consumed with the search for them, given multiple reports from friends and family that Turetta had refused to accept Cecchettin’s decision to end the relationship. Cecchettin’s sister, Elena, said she had been concerned about Turetta’s possessiveness of her sister, but never imagined he could hurt her.

Police in the eastern German city of Halle said on Sunday that they had detained a 21-year-old Italian man who was wanted by police in Italy after his car broke down on the A9 highway in the south of the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

Italian news reports said police road cameras had traced Turetta’s black Fiat Punto as he drove on mountain roads through northern Italy, into Austria and then Germany.

State-run RAI radio said Turetta had agreed to be extradited, and Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said he was expected back in Italy within days.

The fate of Cecchettin, who was about to graduate with a degree in engineering, had dominated news reports for a week and led to an outpouring of anger when her body was finally found.

Even Turetta’s parents attended a candlelit vigil for her, and RAI led its main evening news program on Sunday with a backdrop made up of portraits of all the women killed this year.

Premier Giorgia Meloni expressed outrage at Italy’s long history of violence against women by their partners or ex-partners, saying it has appeared to be getting worse recently. She cited data from the Interior Ministry saying of the 102 women killed in Italy up to November 12, 2023; 53 died at the hands of their partners or former partners.

“Every single woman killed because she is guilty of being free is an aberration that cannot be tolerated and that drives me to continue on the path taken to stop this barbarity,” she said in a statement on social media.

A government-backed bill that has already passed the lower Chamber of Deputies and is coming to the Senate later this month would boost preventative measures to protect victims of domestic violence.

In addition, the Interior Ministry urged all schools to hold a minute of silence on Tuesday in honour of Cecchettin “and all abused women and victims of violence.”

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