Pietro Marcenario (Italy)
"The socialist group has decided, virtually unanimously, to support the report of Mr. Straesse emphatically.
"It is difficult for everyone to accept that in civilised countries there could exist torture, or political prisoners, but these things do exist. The victims of such repression look to the Council of Europe as one potential source of help in their fight.
"There is much talk of human rights defenders: who are these political prisoners if not defenders of human rights?
"Mr Strässer has quoted the views of Amnesty International. Given the importance attached to civil society, the stance of such authoritative organisations should give food for thought. Their expert opinions are not expressed lightly.
"The amendment 2 aims to neuter the report and to mortgage the future activity of the Council of Europe. What do those who tabled the amendment hope to achieve by this? Do they want to deny hope to political prisoners?
"Everyone has a duty to take a stand and to resist the lobbying which had affected this whole discussion."