Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

Posted by Peter Quennell

Italy’s a tough country with, albeit dwindling now, a legacy of violent crime, and many brave prosecutors over the years have been assassinated.

And the Italian legal system is not particularly weighted in their direction, with a large number of hurdles they have to climb over before a case ever gets to trial.

And the Italian prison system is relatively lenient, heavily pro-prisoner-remediation and early release, and proportionally only 1/10 the size of the US’s.

So the endemic attempts to undermine Prosecutor Mignini have invariably won only MORE popular support for him and his case in Perugia and Italy in general.

And the only “criminal charge” against him (it isn’t) seems to flow from his guessing right in the Monster of Florence case - and apparently no charge of this kind has ever won a “conviction”.

Above is Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro.

He is in the news now because he has demanded prison sentences for TWENTY-SIX Americans.

Between them they seem to have colluded in grabbing Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian in Italy, back in President Bush’s day, and taking him off to be tortured.

Not to the United States where torture is not legal, but to Egypt where it more-or-less is.

Human rights advocates charge that renditions were the CIA’s way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where it was practiced.

The CIA has declined to comment on the Italian case, and all the Americans are being tried in absentia and are considered fugitives.

As we remarked in this post it is pretty hard for a foreign government and especially now the American government to throw sand in the Italian wheels of justice. 

The American government is really just sitting this one out. And it may be covertly delighted when Amanda Knox and her clan fade to silence.

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Unfortunately the current Berlusconi government is working very hard to stop Spataro from prosecuting this case against the chief of the Italian intelligence Pollari and the rest of the gang. Politicians are accusing Spataro of using evidence protected as Classified Information to prosecute the defendants. It’s interesting to know that Pollari for a long time claimed that the Italian intelligence knew nothing about the kidnapping, and only recently decided to use the State Secret protection to defend himself, saying that he cannot use such protected information to show that he was actually against the kidnapping (yeah! right!). Although the Italian magistrates are very independent from the executive (thanks to a constitutional framework created to avoid the abuses of the fascist regime under Mussolini), however politicians are currently working on a reform of the Intelligence, including the State Secrecy law, which would guarantee virtual immunity to Pollari and the other co-defendant Mancini. The reform has been mocked with the name: Legge Salva Pollari (Pollari Saving Law). The travesty is that the center-left opposition is actually in agreement with the government on this law, which many jurists deem outrageously unconstitutional. So don’t expect a lot of convictions out of this case. In the end the politicians will “fix” things so that nobody gets convicted with any crime. I’m sure Dick Cheney is very pleased with Berlusconi’s cooperation back in 2003 and again now. Long live the rendition program! And people still believe in democracy and the rule of law!

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 10/01/09 at 09:24 PM | #

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