Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Marco Camenisch; a life of extremes

Camenisch has spent the last 20 years in prison or on the run Keystone

Marco Camenisch spent a decade on the run following his escape from a Swiss prison in 1981. He was eventually recaptured in Tuscany in 1991.

The past 20 years of Camenisch’s life have been coloured by time spent in prison or as a fugitive from justice.

The 52-year-old, whose nom de guerre is Martino, spent 11 years in Italian prisons.

In 1991 he was arrested after a shoot-out with police and sentenced to 12 years in jail for carrying out bomb attacks on high-voltage power lines in Tuscany between 1989 and 1991.

He was incarcerated in Cinquale in the Massa Carrara province, historically one of the bastions of the anarchist movement in Italy,

Having served his prison term, Camenisch was extradited back to Switzerland on April 18, 2002, where he is wanted in connection with various offences.

Prison escape

He had escaped from prison in Switzerland in 1981, where he was serving a ten-year sentence for bombing an electricity facility in Bad Ragaz in eastern Switzerland in 1979.

During the breakout, which included other inmates, a prison guard was killed and another was seriously wounded.

Camenisch is also suspected of murdering a border guard in 1989, at Brusio on the Swiss-Italian border.

Camenisch, who calls himself an “anarchist revolutionary” on his website, was transferred last year to the maximum-security prison at Pfäffikon near Zurich.

Since January 18 he has been on hunger strike in protest against the harsh conditions his confinement.

(translated by Isobel Johnson)

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR