Da International Herald Tribune del 13/07/2005
Originale su http://www.iht.com:80/bin/print_ipub.php?file=/articles/2005/07/13/europe/web.italy.php

An Italian proposes new rules on security

di Elisabeth Rosenthal

ROME - Warning that "terrorism is knocking on Italy's door" in the wake of the London bombings, Italy's interior minister went before Parliament on Tuesday to request new security powers that he said would help combat the threat. Giuseppe Pisanu proposed, for example, that security forces be allowed to hold terrorism suspects for 24 hours without charges, instead of the current 12 hours, and that the government be allowed to archive e-mail communications for prolonged periods. He suggested that people buying prepaid phone cards for cellphones be required to register and provide identification. He asked that the police be allowed to question terrorism suspects without a lawyer in attendance, and he requested expanded powers to expel illegal immigrants suspected of connections with terrorist groups. "The evaluation of circumstances and converging hints push us to think that such a thing is possible," in Italy, Pisanu said, referring to a terrorism attack. But he turned a deaf ear to politicians who had been calling for more drastic emergency legislation to combat terrorism. He chose to pursue the standard parliamentary route for amending laws, rather than a fast-track proposal that would require immediate approval only from the cabinet and could take effect immediately.

"I am not thinking of exceptional laws," he said. "We cannot limit the rights of our citizens in order to fight the enemies of liberty. To do so, we would allow them a certified victory." The U.S. Patriot Act was rushed into legislation only six weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, and it allows U.S. authorities generally far broader police powers than any of the Italian proposals, including the controversial power to demand medical records, bank records or library records without a court order or show of probable cause. "There were different venues the minister could have pursued," said Michele Calderone, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior. "He decided to present a full draft proposal to Parliament, and he will do that very soon." Some experts were skeptical that the kind of piecemeal expansion of current laws proposed Tuesday would have a significant impact. "I think the proposal responds to a political need — 'We have to do something' — but on a legislative front there isn't a lot to do," said Alessandro Corneli, a professor of international relations at Luiss University in Rome. He said that Italian counterterrorism investigators worked under many legal constraints compared with security services in other countries. Italy "needs to give more efficiency and autonomy to investigators," he said. "What would make a difference is to rapidly give intelligence service operatives more guarantees that if they break the law, they are protected and not taken as a criminal by a magistrate." In addition to his presentation Tuesday, Pisanu announced that he had made a surprise visit to Libya on Monday to discuss antiterrorism coordination with Libya's leader, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi. He made the trip in part because many criminal organizations dealing in human trafficking and illegal immigration have bases in Italy, Libya and other Mediterranean countries, the Interior Ministry said. The Libyan government was implicated in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, but Qaddafi has renounced terrorism in the past two years. Pisanu added that Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini of Italy would be meeting with ambassadors from Islamic nations in Rome in the coming days. "Collaboration with moderate Islamic states can be of vital use," he told Parliament. The political mood has been tense in Italy since the London bombings, with many opposition politicians calling on the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq or to pass stringent emergency antiterrorism measures. Italy is at significant risk for becoming the stage for the next major terrorist event, experts say: It is one of the few countries in Europe that continues to station troops in Iraq, despite widespread popular opposition here to the conflict. Also, Berlusconi is certain to be involved in a bitter re-election campaign within the next year, and a well-timed attack might help swing the election away from his pro-U.S. coalition. To head off the risk of attack, Pisanu chose to focus on building bridges to Islamic groups and expanding traditional police activities. He said that 750 new security officials would be sent out over the next few days to assist local police to provide better protection for ports, airports and railways stations. Pietro Fassino, secretary of the Democratic Left, said he was relieved that the minister had settled on "reasonable proposals" and was waiting to examine the specific legislative language. But some politicians felt that Pisanu's proposal did not go far enough. Andrea Gibelli, head of the Northern League political coalition, demanded a special antiterrorism agency, like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "After the bombs in London we must protect our security," he said.
Annotazioni − Elisabetta Povoledo contributed reporting for this article from Milan.

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