Hearing date set for appeal of withdrawn MUOS licences

Defence ministry in court next month over U.S. military base

Hearing date set for appeal of withdrawn MUOS licences

Niscemi, April 25 - A hearing date has been set next month in the dispute over permits for a controversial American military site under construction in Sicily. On May 10, Palermo's regional administrative court (Tar) will hear an appeal from the Ministry of Defence of an earlier withdrawal of authorizations relating to construction of a United States military satellite-communications system in the Sicilian town of Niscemi. Some local residents are fiercely opposed to the plan to build the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS),and permits were withdrawn last month by Sicily's regional environment and territory department. In its application, the Ministry of Defence also seeks compensation for damages totaling 25,000 euros per day, effective March 29, citing damages to relations between Italy, the U.S., and NATO. While opponents say MUOS will threaten world peace, the environment, and the health of locals, Italy's defence ministry defended the system as "essential for NATO operations in the Mediterranean and therefore, for national security".

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