Italian state attorney considers appeal of Ustica ruling

Says earlier ruling by top court based on inaccuracies

Italian state attorney considers appeal of Ustica ruling

Rome, June 27 - Italy's state attorney is considering an appeal aimed at revoking a top court decision awarding millions of euros in compensation to some victims of a mysterious plane crash in 1980, sources told ANSA Thursday. A Court of Cassation decision in January gave final approval to 1.2 million euros in compensation for three families who lost loved ones in the 1980 crash that killed 81 people. But the state attorney general now says that compensation order was not based on facts, and has called for a new civil trial. The news comes on the 33rd anniversary of the mysterious plane crash which Italy's top court ruled was caused by a missile fired in error at the passenger liner flying between Bologna and Palermo. The top court ruling, which faulted civil and military radar systems, was the first definitive sentence since criminal proceedings were inconclusive. The court said the State must pay damages to all 81 victims' families for failing to ensure the safety of the skies. Prosecutors say that to compensate all claimants would cost the government as much as 110 million euros. Earlier in the day, President Giorgio Napolitano called for continued international efforts to solve the mystery of what caused the crash off the coast of the island of Ustica killing 81 people. "The memory of that tragic night and the innocent victims of the disaster underline the duty of all institutions to support ongoing investigations to ascertain responsibility - national and international - that remained covered by disturbing shadows and opacity," Napolitano said in a statement earlier in the day. International panels who examined the wreckage in the past had arrived at differing conclusions: One said the plane had been hit by a missile, while another thought a bomb had been planted aboard the craft - another terrorist act similar to what was carried out with even greater loss of life at Bologna train station later that summer. Magistrates and victims' relatives have suspected that the plane may have become caught in a dogfight between NATO planes and a Libyan jet whose wreckage was found in the southern Italian highlands some months after the Ustica crash. Italy has repeatedly asked NATO, and in particular the United States and France, for full cooperation in clearing up the incident. According to reconstructions of the event contained in fictitious accounts, the Libyan jet hid under the Itavia jet and a NATO missile hit the wrong target.

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