Pietro Valpreda

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Pietro Valpreda

Pietro Valpreda (22 June 1933 - 6 July 2002) was an Italian anarchist, dancer and novelist. He was victim of a miscarriage of justice during the Cold War, sentenced to prison on charges of being responsible of the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, before being cleared sixteen years later.[1]

Valpreda came from a poor working-class family in Milan, and, after the end of his formal education, attended dance school. He made his living as a minor dancer on stage. He moved to Rome in 1969 where he frequented the "Bakunin Circle," before founding with several friends the 22 March Circle.

Following the December 12, 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, carried out in the middle of the autunno caldo of 1969 (Hot Autumn), he was arrested by the police. A taximan testified having seen him on the Piazza a short time before the bombing,[2] which left 16 dead and 88 injured. His testimony was later proved false. Another anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli, was also arrested for the bombing, and died a few days later while he was illegally detained by the police.[3]

Pietro Valpreda's name was splashed across the media as "the monster of Piazza Fontana"[4] and a television reporter claimed that "the guilty man has been found".[3] For three years, he languished in jail, awaiting trial. All over Italy, there were huge pro-Valpreda demonstrations and the trial was moved to the deep south, to avoid "political interference". Valpreda published his prison diaries, entitled It Is Him - the words used by the alleged witness, taxi driver Cornelio Rolandi.

The Italian Judiciary took 16 years to conclude that Valpreda was clearly completely innocent[1] and 32 years to find someone else guilty of the bombing. It was later found out that neofascists had carried out the bombing in the frame of the strategy of tension.

As it emerged later, most probably Valpreda was mistaken for Nino Sottosanti, an extremist, close to the neofascist scene, and who was a lookalike of the anarchist.[5]

After his release, Valpreda continued to work as a dancer and opened a bar in Milano. He wrote three books with Piero Colaprico[6]

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