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Vatileaks 2. Vatican set for diplomatic clash with Italy for prosecution

Roma could refuse extradition of journalists Nuzzi and Fittipaldi if they are found guilty, says Ossigeno watchdog

From theguardian.comby Stephanie Kirchgaessner – Rome, 1 Dec 2015 – Italy is facing a diplomatic collision with the Vatican over the church’s prosecution of two Italian journalists in a case that has been broadly condemned by press freedom groups.

A media watchdog that chronicles acts of intimidation against Italian journalists said Italy would have the legal right to reject any attempt by the Vatican to seek the extradition of the two journalists – Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi – if the pair are found guilty by a Vatican court of publishing classified and leaked documents.

The trial of the journalists and three former Vatican officials – who have been charged with leaking the documents – will continue next week after being adjourned on Monday. The journalists technically face up to eight years in jail if they are convicted.

“Italy very easily should and could refuse any extradition request because we have an article in our penal code that says such a request can be refused if the alleged ‘crime’ the person has been charged with is itself against the paramount principles of Italian law,” said Alberto Spampinato, a journalist and founder of the NGO Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for information).

Another expert, Professor Giulio Illuminati of LUISS in Rome, said there was no legal framework for the Vatican to seek the journalists’ extradition because the Vatican does not have an extradition agreement with Italy. Illuminati also noted that Italy could question the fairness of the trial since the Vatican is not a signatory to the European convention on human rights (…)

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