DIARY OF A JURYWOMAN AT THE RED BRIGADES TRIAL <br>By Adelaide Aglietta<br>Preface by Leonardo Sciascia

ABSTRACT: Adelaide Aglietta, a woman of Turin, joined the Radical Party (PR) in 1974. After being active in the CISA (Italian Centre For Sterilisation and Abortion) for legalising and liberalising abortion and in the Piedmont branch of the Radical Party, she was the leading candidate on the Radical election list for Turin in the June 20, 1976 elections. The following November she was elected secretary of the PR and reconfirmed in that post for 1978 at the Bologna Congress. Her name was drawn by lots in March 1978 to be a juror in the Turin trial of the Red Brigades and she accepted the task after more than one hundred other citizens had refused it, thus allowing the trial to take place.
Thus Adelaide Aglietta was the secretary of a party to be a member of a popular jury: her diary originates from this experience on the borderline between public and private life, from the tensions and the contradictions that are necessarily part of the role of juror, above all in a political trial.
At present she is a deputy to the European Parliament.

("DIARIO DI UNA GIURATA POPOLARE AL PROCESSO DELLE BRIGATE ROSSE" - Adelaide Aglietta - Preface by Leonardo Sciascia - Milano Libri Edizioni - February 1979)

By Leonardo Sciascia

In the first page of this diary Adelaide Aglietta refers to a brief article of mine "per cui tanto reo tempo si volse", (1) in which I expressed an opinion concerning the participation as a juror in a trial like the one about to take place in Turin against Curcio and other Red Brigaders. It is an opinion I continue to consider quite sensible and not at all subversive if I affirmed that for the respect and the duty I owe to myself I would have accepted to be a juror in a trial of that type: and, even more, doing violence to my innate and absolute repugnance towards judging my fellow men (and never is the word "fellow men" so totally in the right place when speaking of sins and guilt). And I still do not understand why there was such a scandal because I should have made a concrete and inescapable duty of an abstraction and an abstract one; and with the same results. The Radicals arrived at the same - or almost the same - opinion after a long, intense intra-party debate: but it was a non-binding opinion for each one of them.
And, lo!, whose name but that of Adelaide Aglietta should be drawn in the lots to choose jurors for the Turin trial. And I do not know the drawing of lots for jurors is done - whether the names are put into a box, or if they draw numbers, like in Bingo, that correspond to the names of the upright citizens who have the credentials for judging their fellows (credentials, clearly, that have nothing to do with the true and profound moral life of each of us). The fact remains that it was really a remarkable coincidence that Adelaide Aglietta's name should have been drawn. It would have been even more remarkable if she had refused to do it. But she accepted. And certainly not without hesitation, not without unease, not without a sense of affliction. She accepted from a sense of duty towards herself, the duty not to be afraid precisely when one is afraid; the fear of sitting in judgement adding itself, in the circumstances, to that of the threat to one's life (and quite concretely threatened in a way of which there have been daily examples).
Her experiences have given rise to this diary: discrete and unrhetorical with regard to her state of mind and apprehensions which become almost marginal in comparison to the reporting of the trial - a report which is among the most objective, perhaps the most objective of all we have had. Because, one must admit, the reports in the newspapers have not been very objective every day. On the contrary, they have been approximative and off the point. Take, for example, the case of the mysterious letter of which she speaks in the trial hearing of April 18: what a tangle to be confronted and unravelled it would have been for a vigilant and well-informed journalism and - as the Italian situation demands - a pre-occupied one too. And how agilely, instead, did they skip over it without paying any attention and without even managing to give a clear report of the facts.
It must be added that quite aside from the question of the particular moment, aside from the uniqueness of the trial, aside from the singular situation in which Adelaide Aglietta finds herself confronting her role as a juror - split between "civil disobedience" which she professes as a Radical and the obedience to her personal dignity - this diary is one of the few, the very few testimonies coming from direct experience that have been published in Italy on the administration of justice. I recall only one other: Dante Troisi's "Diary of a Juror". After being a juror in the court of assizes, Andre Gide wrote a memoir and took over the direction of a series entitled "Do Not Judge". Unfortunately in the Italian situation we are not permitted to not judge, as this case demonstrates. It is not permitted, that is, even to those who on principle would not want to. Only that in judging one must also judge the judges and oneself as judge - which it seems to me Adelaide Aglietta has done.


1) This is a quotation from Dante (Canto V) and means more or less "...for which (reason) such bad times came about". The bad times are the Trojan war and the "for which" refers to Helen of Troy.