«Together with me there is my wife, my family, we are all full of pain. I would like to think about my vegetable garden in Sardinia and instead...". Instead he has to think about his daughter, who has been locked up in prison in Hungary for 13 months, has stopped being an engineer and has found himself working as a human rights activist 24 hours a day . He is Roberto Salis, from Cagliari, father of Ilaria, the thirty-nine year old anti-fascist militant, is accused of aggravated assault against two Nazis. A prison regime, hers, which has caused discussion due to the conditions in which she has been forced to live for months. His images with his hands and feet chained went around the world.

Now the candidacy for the European elections, with the Green Alliance and the Left, has arrived for the teacher imprisoned in a country that is not very subtle with prison sentences and prisoners' rights. But the father doesn't want to talk about politics. He talks about her: «Her prison conditions have improved a little», says Roberto Salis during a meeting in Naples, «Ilaria is quite well, she is a very strong woman, she has had a very hard period, especially the first 35 days of detention were difficult. We had no idea what he was going through and this was a serious worry for me. He's better now. With the last package delivered by the embassy she finally managed to receive a hairdryer and after 14 months she was able to dry her hair with an advanced tool."

Salis says of Ilaria's candidacy "a difficult process, given that I can only talk to her ten minutes a day". He talks about President Mattarella, his "unexpected availability" and how first of all Ilaria (for whom he is like an "affectionate grandfather") wanted to let him know of his candidacy, "so as not to create problems and embarrassments".

Many, admits Roberto Salis, have "slammed the door in his face" and there is no reason why Italy is not "capable of ensuring that the Constitution is respected in other countries too. We have article 3 which says that all citizens must have the same treatment before the law, it is not said in which country. Whoever wrote the Constitution was a little wiser than the political average we currently have", he blurts out.

And then: «I am convinced that it is not us who have to work for the institutions, it is the institutions that have to work for us, because we are citizens and not subjects. At a time when there is an Italian citizen locked in a cell, who cannot speak to her parents, who only speaks to Hungarian lawyers, if the family cannot intervene, important action by the Italian institutions is needed - he reiterates -. In that case the Embassy should not have stood there passively watching, but should have reported."

He is asked how his life has changed. Roberto Salis remains silent for a moment. Then, moved, he says: «Together with me there is my wife, my family, we are all full of pain. I would like to think about my vegetable garden in Sardinia and instead...". And woe betide you if you ask him what he thinks of the resolutions that Italy doesn't respect: "I don't do politics, I only do and want to be a dad."


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