'To Give Him Mafia-Style Immunity Is Absurd'

J$P Instant Transcript! Judge Andrew Napolitano is worried that Hamdi Isaac may never face prosecution.

From The Big Story with John Gibson, August 2 2005:

JOHN GIBSON [FOX NEWS]: In Italy, meanwhile, the prosecutor said it could take weeks or months to extradite Hamdi Isaac to the UK. He's accused of taking part in the July 21st failed bombings. Isaac's Italian lawyer is trying to secure him, quote, "a mafia-style deal", meaning if he cooperates he could be given residency, as well as a new identity, in Italy. Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. So this is treating the guy like he's Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, where he would go into a witness protection program, essentially, in Italy, right?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO [FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST]: That's exactly what his lawyer is trying to negotiate for him now. And there are a couple of preconditions before the Italian government will talk to her about that. There has to be some connection to Italy, meaning one of the 56 people killed in the 7/7 bombings needs to be Italian. Or some of the conspiracy needs to have been hatched on Italian soil. Now this guy lived in Rome with his brother for a while. The brother made trips to London; he made trips to Rome. And there are a number of phone calls. So if the Italian government finds there's a basis to charge him, they have the right to charge him and prosecute him first. Under a new terrorism law enacted just two weeks ago, the Italian government can grant him immunity if he substantially assists them in the cause of justice. If he's granted immunity, the Italian government--even though it's in the EU and even though it signed the same treaty that the Brits had--will deny extradition to the British government.

GIBSON: How stupid can they be? Why would you want to give a terrorist, a guy who's admitted a bombing, a new identity and turn him loose in your own country?

NAPOLITANO: It's absolutely crazy. It makes no sense under international law. It makes no sense under Italian law.

GIBSON: It makes no sense here under Big Story law.

NAPOLITANO: That's correct. That's the Gibson law. Under the rule of reason that you just articulated, why would anybody want this guy free in their country? You know, the Italian system of justice--I was just for a couple of weeks--

GIBSON: I know you were.

NAPOLITANO: The Italian system of justice is lame and easy by American and by Western standards. I mean, even when you're in jail for murder, you get big chunks of time off, to be with your spouse, to be with your significant other. And then you go back to jail. Not only is there no death penalty, there's no life in prison. Once you reach the age of 70, you can petition to get out on the grounds of old age, no matter what the charge was. So the attitude is very different. The British government is furious about this. They want this guy in Britain. They do not want him walking around in Rome, with his real name or with an assumed name.

GIBSON: OK, now they could do what the Americans did. And I'm saying the Americans did, although the American are denying it. The Italians think the Americans went into Milan, CIA agents, and kidnapped a Muslim cleric.


GIBSON: If the Brits can figure out where this guy is in Italy, they can go snatch him.

NAPOLITANO: Well, assuming he's not in jail, assuming he gets out, correct. One of the things that the Italian lawyer, his lawyer, is trying to work out for him, is a period of incarceration in Italy, during which time everybody that was involved in the British case will be prosecuted, tried, and convicted. And the British desire for him will be lessened by the time he gets out of jail. I mean, this is just nutty.

GIBSON: They don't know the Brits. I mean, the Brits are pretty stubborn. They'll never forget this.

NAPOLITANO: Absolutely. Now, in terms of the kidnapping, it is against many treaties, it is against international law--

GIBSON: Yeah, so what?

NAPOLITANO: --the Italian government has indicted 13 American CIA agents. They'll probably never be prosecuted.

GIBSON: Never. And they're inviting people to come do these kidnappings by these stupid things they do, which they turn these terrorists loose on the street.

NAPOLITANO: Another thing about the Italian system of government is it's not controlled necessarily by the party in power. They have truly independent magistrates--half judge, half prosecutor--who make these decisions. Hopefully saner heads will prevail. But to give him a mafia-style immunity, to change his name and his face, is absurd.

GIBSON: Judge Andrew Napolitano. Judge, thanks very much.

posted: Wed - August 3, 2005 at 06:06 PM       j$p  send