Italian president defends moving wiretapping case

Napolitano calls Constitutional Court move 'transparent'

Italian president defends moving wiretapping case

(ANSA) - Scandicci, October 15 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Monday tried to set the record straight on why he appealed to have a wiretapping case that concerned him moved to the Constitutional Court. Napolitano said that "there was an attempt to mix" his request for jurisdictional change with "the tormented path of criminal investigations", "insinuating in the most gratuitous way the suspicion of interference on the part of the presidency of the Republic". However, the jurisdictional dispute was an "obligatory decision for whoever has sworn to parliament to observe faithfully the Constitution", Napolitano said, and a decision inspired by "transparency and consistency". He added that the autonomy and independence of the judicial system must "link" with the "compelling need for (its) reform and renewed efficiency". The Palermo prosecutor's office will contest the case at the Constitutional Court brought by Napolitano over its handling of wiretaps recorded during a probe into alleged State-Mafia negotiations in the early 1990s. The case centres on recorded conversations between Napolitano and Nicola Mancino, former interior minister, senate speaker and vice president of the Superior Council of Magistrates, who was under investigation at the time. The Italian president asked the Constitutional Court to intervene, saying that magistrates overstepped their powers by wiretapping the conversations and failing to destroy them afterwards, as the Constitution mandates. The documents presented by the Palermo magistrates office on Friday contain records of four recorded conversations between Mancino and Napolitano between November 2011 and May 2012. The office defended itself in a submission to the Constitutional Court, saying that the president would have the "inviolable" status of the "sovereign in a monarchy" if he were to enjoy "absolute immunity". Police did not transcribe the conversations, the prosecutors said. The case is due to be heard on December 4.

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