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Italy to Try London Bombing Suspect Under Anti-Terrorism Laws
By Sabina Castelfranco
VOA, Roma
01 August 2005

An Italian judge has ruled that a man arrested in Italy for alleged involvement in the failed July 21 bombings in London will be charged under Italy's new anti-terrorism laws. The Ethiopian-born British citizen is being held in a Rome prison.

Hamdi Isaac has been charged with association aimed at international terrorism and with possession of false documents.

A package of recently adopted anti-terrorism laws includes a measure that extended the length of time a suspect can be held and questioned without charge.

The head of Italy's anti-terrorism police forces, Carlo De Stefano, said Monday, investigators do not think 27-year-old Hamdi Isaac belonged to a structured Osman Hussain organization with broad terrorist projects.

But his Italian lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa, confirmed he would have to answer to charges of international terrorism.

She said she would appeal the judge's decision. She says Mr. Hamdi does not consider himself a terrorist and did not intend to kill anyone.

Italian authorities arrested Mr. Hamdi on Friday, the same day British authorities arrested two other suspects in the failed July 21st bombing attempts on London's underground and a city bus. Those attempted attacks came two weeks after attacks on the city's transport system by four suicide bombers that killed 52 people.

British authorities say the July 21 attacks did not cause casualties because explosives carried by the four would-be bombers failed to detonate.

According to Italian media reports, Mr. Hamdi has also said his group was not linked to either al-Qaida or the cell that carried out the deadly July 7 bombings in London.

Immediately after Mr. Hamdi's arrest, Britain requested his extradition. Police say a decision on the issue would be made soon. Italian authorities have up to 60 days to rule on an extradition request.

Mr. Hamdi's lawyer indicated he could resist extradition.

Mr. Hamdi was questioned in prison again on Monday. His lawyer said he has been answering questions put to him by anti-terrorism prosecutors, and he has admitted to his role in the failed July 21 bombing attempts.

Two of Mr. Hamdi's brothers have also been arrested in Italy. Investigators say neither is linked to terror activities.

Remzi Isaac, in whose Rome apartment Mr. Hamdi was hiding when he was arrested, has been charged with possessing false documents. And, Fati Isaac, who was picked up Sunday in the northern industrial city of Brescia, was accused of destroying or hiding documents sought by investigators.

Lawyer Stefano Ricci, who is assisting Fati Isaac, said his client was interrogated, and answered questions in a tranquil manner.

Italian authorities have been trying to gather as much information as possible on any terrorist plans to strike in Italy. Mr. De Stefano said Monday that the risk of a terror attack in Italy is real.