RI to extradite Italian mob boss arrested in Bali

The government will arrange the homebound travel of Italian fugitive Antonio Messicati Vitale, the alleged boss of a crime family, after the Denpasar District Court granted Italy’s request for the extradition of the murder and vandalism suspect. Vitale was arrested last year in Bali after months of hiding on the resort island to evade a warrant from Italian authorities. The court had ordered the prosecutors on his case to keep him in detention, but Attorney General’s Office (AGO) spokesman Setia Untung Arimuladi said Saturday that the final decision would be in the hands of the President.

“The extradition’s final approval will depend on the President,” he said Saturday in Jakarta. Setia said that the extradition request was made by the anti-mafia prosecutors’ office in Palermo, Italy, through its government and diplomatic missions. It said that Vitale was alleged to have worked with accomplices in the Costra Nostra mafia group. The group has been involved in extortion and vandalism in Palermo since 1998. Setia added that the Attorney General considered granting the extradition of Vitale based on the principle of “dual criminality”, which means that the violations he allegedly committed were also punishable under Indonesian laws.

“The request fulfills the dual criminality aspect, which emphasizes local criminal law and its enforcement,” he stated, as quoted by metrobali.com. The AGO praised the court for its ruling over the request, which was in line with prosecutors’ demand. As the Italian prosecutors demanded Vitale be returned before Dec. 7 — the deadline to prosecute him — Setia said that the Law and Human Rights Ministry could use this as a basis to immediately follow up the request as stipulated in the 1979 Law on extradition. Setia also said that cooperation between the AGO and its Italian counterpart would continue related to other extradition requests, although the two countries do not have any bilateral agreement with regard to this matter.

“Our support [for extradition] is based on law and justice, because organized crimes are our common enemy. This is to also show that Indonesia is not a safe haven for fugitives,” he said. Vitale was arrested in a villa in north Kuta in December last year. He is believed to be a senior-ranking member of an Italian crime family. The arrest was made following a warrant issued by the international relations division of the Indonesian National Police on Nov. 30 based on the international wanted list. The Bali Police said that Vitale had stayed in the villa for six months before they, along with Interpol, arrested him.

Extensive wiretapping, digital surveillance and physical tracking of the fugitive’s friends and relatives in Italy had provided the Italian police with information on the whereabouts of the fugitive. Vitale is wanted in Italy for various violent crimes, including aggravated assault resulting in the death, as well as conspiracy to commit crimes. All the crimes were related to an organized crime family. He is facing 24 years in prison under Italian laws. The online edition of Italian news outlet La Nazione named Vitale as the boss of the Villabate mafia family, which operates out of Palermo in Sicily, the birthplace of the Cosa Nostra. In April, Vitale escaped capture during a police operation that saw the arrests of several high-ranking mafia figures, including Francesco Lo Gerfo, the alleged boss of the Misilmeri district.

source : bali daily

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