Italian Persecution of Palazzolo in South Africa

The persecution of Palazzolo by the Italian Authorities reached its climax in 1997, when a further warrant of arrest was issued. This was almost certainly generated by the SMITH REPORT (so-called Operation Intrigue), which was forwarded to the Italian Judicial Authorities and to the S.C.O. (Central Coordinating Unit of the Italian State Police) on 10.02.1997. There had been months of collaboration between Smith and officers from the S.C.O, before the report was forwarded.

None of which was ever authorized by the South African Police.

The content of this unauthorised police collaboration came to light during an interview that Dr. GOZZO, a Magistrate at the Court of Palermo, and Dr. MANGANELLI, Head of the Palermo Police Department, gave to the “SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT” programme on South African television. During the interview it was confirmed that a warrant of arrest had been issued against Palazzolo, who was identified as one of the most dangerous fugitives from justice and well-known criminals affiliated to the Mafia.

It is important to note the irregular and clandestine nature of the relations between the S.C.O. and two South African Police Officials, Smith and Lincoln. Apropos of which, in a letter dated 25.03.1998 the head of the Interpol office in Pretoria, Dr Bruce, and the Head of the Legal Department of Interpol in Pretoria, Advocate G. Jouber, asked the S.C.O. to return documentation that had been acquired illegally bySmith and Lincoln. Added to which, it was noted, criminal proceedings were pending for crimes committed by both of them, in South Africa.

A pattern was emerging: the Italian authorities were using the criminal elements in society to give “evidence” against Palazzolo, in order for them to extradite him so that he could face trial, again, for crimes for which he had already been acquitted. Quite apart from the underhand methods being used, given that Palazzolo had already been tried and acquitted for the allegations now being made by the Italians, this flies in the face of human rights as laid down by the European Court in Strasbourg.

Despite the illegitimacy of the investigations conducted in South Africa by the Italian Judiciary, with the complicity of the two South African Police Officers, the Italian Attorney General went on to apply for the extradition of Mr. Palazzolo. This was denied by the South African Authorities, who noted a significant concurrence in the facts forming the subject of the warrant of arrest, with those that formed the subject of the sentence handed down by the Court of Appeal in Lugano (Switzerland).