Carlo Casalegno

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Carlo Casalegno (Turin, 15 February 1916 – Turin, 29 November 1977) was an Italian journalist and writer. He was killed by a group of four terrorists belonging to the Red Brigades; he was the first journalist ever to be killed during the Years of lead.[1][2]


After having attended the Liceo Classico Massimo d'Azeglio, Carlo Casalegno graduated in literature[3] at the University of Turin and then, from 1942 to 1943, he was a teacher at Palli high school of Casale Monferrato. He took part to the Italian Resistance by joining the Action Party and collaborating to its newspaper "Italia libera". During the Post War period, he kept writing for the magazine "Giustizia e Libertà" which, in the meantime, had taken the place of "Italia Libera". From 1951 to 1954 he was the director of the magazine "Resistenza. Giustizia e Libertà".

In 1947 he started to work for the Turin newspaper La Stampa of which he became deputy director in 1968 turning into the only domestic policy editor besides the chief Arrigo Levi. From 1969 to 1977, in his weekly column titled as Il nostro Stato ("Our state"), he wrote a great number of articles about some topical issues such as divorce, the secularism of the State and in particular terrorism, always asking for precision and firmness in applying the ordinary laws already existing to fight the phenomenon and to avoid it to find support in the civil society. He completely rejected the idea of resorting to special kinds of laws to suppress the phenomenon, fearing that such an initiative could have caused an endless sequence of violence, producing as a consequence the loss of democratic freedom of the citizens.[4]

In 1976 the trial of the Brigate Rosse began, which saw among its main defendants Renato Curcio. This trial developed in an incredibly grievous atmosphere, which led up to the murder of the lawyer Fulvio Croce, who had taken the defence of Red Brigades' militants notwithstanding they had threatened whoever would have done that (one cannot go to trial in Italy without a lawyer), and which pursued with the withdrawal of the citizens who were meant to compose the popular jury. In this contest, Casalegno with his articles urged everyone not to hide in front of the terrorism, suggesting everyone to fulfil their role.

The ambush of Red Brigades[edit]

In 1977, on 16 November at 13.55, while he was going back to his house in Re Umberto avenue, 54 for lunch, Carlo Casalegno was victim of an ambush by a fireteam of the Turin Red Brigades' column composed of Raffaele Fiore, Patrizio Peci, Piero Panciarelli and Vincenzo Acella. It seems Red Brigades' militants had initially planned of kneecapping him but, then after a serie of postponements and a discussion between the members of the Turin column, it was decided to kill him mainly because of his latest articles, considered to be highly controversial towards the armed struggle.[5] Red Brigades' militants had planned to shot the journalist in the lobby of the building; Raffaele Fiore was charged of shooting, covered by Piero Panciarelli, meanwhile Peci stayed to watch over the area equipped with a submachine gun, Acella was meant to drive the car ready for the withdrawal.[6]

At the moment of Casalegno's arrival in the lobby, Panciarelli and Fiore got closer and Fiore called the journalist to make him turn and not to shoot him on the back; Casalegno turned and was immediately hit by four bullets in his face coming from Fiore's Nagant M1895, right after the Red Brigades' militants escaped, believing they had killed the journalist who instead, whilst having suffered incredibly serious injuries to the jaw and mouth, didn't die right away.[6]

Immediately rescued by his wife, Casalegno was recovered in major conditions with a destroyed face at Le Molinette hospital. In that difficult moment in Turin it was tried to organise manifestations of solidarity: the night after the ambush day (17 November), there was a popular manifestation of citizens against terrorism in Piazza San Carlo with the attendance of some thousands of people. Nevertheless, the ambush didn't seem to produce a great shook among the Fiat's craftsmen: only a few workers took part to the strike hold immediately after where, in addition, some craftsmen released to the journalists declarations about their indifference for Casalegno's faith.[7]

Nevertheless, a seeming improvement he died on 29 November 1977, after 13 days of agony.

The funeral was hold the 1 December in the church of Crocetta neighbourhood. Between the distinguished participants Gianni Agnelli, the politicians Bettino Craxi and Giovanni Spadolini and the former minister Carlo Donat-Cattin.[8] Besides his wife Dedi Andreis, Carlo Casalegno left a 33-year-old son, Andrea, journalist and militant at Lotta Continua.

During the trial in the Corte d'Assise, which took place in the summer of 1983, the Red Brigades' militants said they had chosen to kill Casalegno instead of kneecapping him (as they had done with Indro Montanelli) above all because of a brutal article of the 11 November '77 titled "Non occorrono leggi nuove, basta applicare quelle che ci sono. Terrorismo e chiusura dei covi" (New laws are not necessary, it's enough to apply the already existing ones).[9] According to Peci, Casalegno was sentenced to death for having offended the memory of some members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) who died in jail in (Germany) between October and November 1977 (Io, l'infame, pag. 137).


He was awarded the Gold Medal for Civil Valor[10] and the Gold Medal as Terrorism Victim.[11]

In 1980 Rotary Club Roma Nord Ovest created a journalistic prize named after Casalegno.[12][13]

In February 2004 Carlo Casalegno was given a posthumous Honorary degree in law by the University of Turin.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ La Stampa, 11 November 1997, p. 1
  2. ^ "Andrea Casalegno, ammazzarono mio padre non-un simbolo". La Stampa (in Italian). 16 November 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  3. ^ Carlo Marletti, Francesco Bullo Il Piemonte e Torino alla prova del terrorismo, Rubbettino editore, 2004, pag.123
  4. ^ Mauro, Ezio (16 November 2017). ""Carlo è vivo, Carlo vivrà": in ricordo di Casalegno, il primo giornalista ucciso dalle Br". l'Espresso (in Italian). Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  5. ^ A. Grandi, L'ultimo brigatista, pp. 96–98.
  6. ^ a b V. Tessandori, Qui Brigate Rosse, p. 69.
  7. ^ Giorgio Bocca, Noi terroristi, pp. 151–152.
  8. ^ l'Unità, 2 December 1977, pag. 4
  9. ^ Paolo Borgna, Un paese migliore, Laterza, 2006, p.325
  10. ^ "Carlo Casalegno" (in Italian). President of Italy. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Carlo Casalegno" (in Italian). President of Italy. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  12. ^ "La storia del Premio Carlo Casalegno" (in Italian). Rotary Roma NordOvest. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Premio Carlo Casalegno 2019 a Lina Palmerini del Sole 24 Ore". Il Sole 24 ORE (in Italian). 10 April 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  14. ^ La Stampa, 9 February 2004, p. 27


External links[edit]