Patterns of Global Terrorism 1998 - Italy

On 12 November, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan arrived unexpectedly in Rome and requested political asylum. He initially was detained there on an international warrant issued by Germany. Italy declined to act on a Turkish extradition request, citing Turkey's long-unused capital punishment statute, which prohibits extradition to countries with capital punishment. Italy also declined to exercise its option under international law to prosecute Ocalan. After Bonn withdrew the warrant, the Italians told Ocalan he was free to leave. After trying unsuccessfully to find a country willing to take him, Italian officials said he no longer was welcome in Italy. Ocalan eventually left for Russia, with the apparent assistance of Italian officials, beginning an odyssey that culminated in his seizure in Kenya in February 1999.

In October police arrested five Islamic terrorists in Turin for weapons violations and reported links to Usama Bin Ladin. The next month police arrested suspected GIA terrorist Rahid Fetter in Milan on charges of forgery, counterfeiting, and membership in a subversive organization. The Italians accused Fetter of providing shelter, funds, and false identification papers to GIA militants.


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