Autopsies on bodies of slain hostages

Libya threats being investigated says Gentiloni

(ANSA) - Rome, March 10 - Autopsies in Rome of the bodies of two Italian hostages slain in March 2 in Libya revealed Salvatore Failla and Fausto Piano died of multiple gunshot wounds, coroners said Thursday.
    Failla was killed by shots to the sternum and the lumbar region. Coroners found six entry wounds caused by gunfire, none of them to the head. They said it was impossible to say what weapon had been used. Piano died of several bullet wounds to the upper body. This appears to contradict early reports that the two had been executed, and supports the theory that they were killed in a battle with opposing militia while being moved.
    Also on Thursday, a lawyer for the Failla family said an autopsy carried out in Libya before the bodies were returned to Italy was "a butchery". "The cutting out of a section of bodily tissue has made identifying the murder weapon and working out the distance and trajectory impossible," Francesco Caroleo Grimaldi said. "It was not an autopsy - it was a butchery". Early on Thursday, an Air Force plane brought the bodies of the two Italian oil-sector workers who were killed in Libya last week after being taken hostage in July, back to Italy. The remains arrived at Rome's Ciampino airport shortly after midnight. On Wednesday Failla's widow said she felt let down by Italian authorities and was refusing a State funeral. Failla and Piano were part of a group of four Italian employees of the Parma-based Bonatti oil construction firm who were kidnapped on their way to work. The other two hostages are back in Italy after freeing themselves. Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told parliament Wednesday that no ransom was paid for the hostages.
    On Thursday, Gentiloni said the government is maintaining "maximum discretion" on reports Italian officials were coerced under threat to turn the bodies of Failla and Piano over to Libya officials for autopsy. "The judiciary is dealing with the matter," Gentiloni said.
    "(This) does not cancel out our sympathies with the families for the pain they have suffered, and which unfortunately was accentuated by the frankly incomprehensible manner in which the return of the remains has been prolonged". Filippo Calcagno, one of the two survivors, said Thursday that his captors did not speak Italian. However, he also said that the group was told to be careful of what they said in recorded messages because these would be heard by someone who could understand. Failla's widow has stated a kidnapper had called her and spoken in Italian. Calcagno said he also had the impression that negotiations were taking place for the hostages' release before two were killed last week.
    He said earlier this week that "I don't know if (our captors) were men from ISIS. It'll be up to them to say if they were ISIS or criminals. For me they are criminals because what they do is awful". Calcagno told journalists that he and his three co-workers were held by "a family of criminals - there were women and a child" and that they "suffered hunger, thirst, beatings, punches, blows with rifle butts and we had to do our business inside a plastic thing".