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Thursday, April 17, 2003
Extraditing Abu Abbas

What should be done with Abu Abbas, given his apprehension in Iraq? The best solution might be to pass him to Italy where he has already been tried and sentenced in absentia. There's more information about Abbas's situation here. The article says
The US justice department has said there are no grounds for extradition since Washington had dropped a warrant for his arrest. And in 1998, the Israeli supreme court declared Abbas immune from prosecution, referring to the Oslo peace accords and the Palestinian-Israeli interim agreement signed three years earlier by the then Israeli prime minister, Yitshak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat. It was signed by President Clinton as a witness.
Given that the US has cancelled its warrant for the man concerned, Italy provides the main hope. There is, of course, the possibility that the US would choose extra-legal means of dealing with Abbas. But, given their respect for international law, they wouldn’t do that. (However, Guantanamo Bay beckons...)

It appears that Italy holds a strong hand. Israel might also consider a neat quid pro quo. How about handing over the kidnappers of Mordechai Vanunu? Israeli agents abducted Vanunu from Rome during 1986. Kidnapping is a serious offence, too, and one good turn deserves another.

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