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Italian court rules against presidential wire-tap: reports

06 december 2012, 12:41
0
Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano. ©REUTERS
Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano. ©REUTERS
Italy's highest court has accepted a complaint over the wire-tapping of the president as part of an inquiry into negotiations between state officials and the Mafia, AFP reports citing Italian media.

President Giorgio Napolitano asked the court in July to force prosecutors in Sicily to destroy recorded conversations he had with one of 12 people accused of dealings with the Mafiosi behind some of Italy's most notorious killings.

The recording was made as part of an investigation into an alleged deal between the state and the Mafia to end a spiral of violent attacks, including the car-bomb murders of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.

"It was not up to the Palermo prosecutor's office to evaluate the importance of the transcripts of the president's telephone conversations," the judges of the Constitutional Court were quoted as saying in their ruling on Tuesday.

Prosecutors have requested 12 people stand trial in the case -- six Mafia bosses and six people who were working for the state at the time. Among them is Marcello Dell'Utri, an ally of scandal-ridden ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Napolitano's conversations with former interior minister Nicola Mancino were recorded as part of the investigation -- an act the president insists is illegal because the head of state has full judicial immunity.

Although prosecutors have said the audio recordings are not significant for the inquiry, they insist on following procedure and refuse to destroy the tapes before they can be heard by the lawyers of all parties involved.

Napolitano's office said the president needs immunity in order to be able to perform his office, but critics have accused him of trying to obstruct justice.

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