Palazzolo: Late night bid to stop deportation

2012-04-20 00:00

VITO Palazzolo, wanted by Italian police for his alleged connections to the Sicilian Mafia, launched a dramatic application in the Cape High Court late last night to try to force the SA government to stop his deportation from Thailand to Italy.

It appears that Palazzolo’s legal team argued that Thai authorities were planning to deport him later today and he wanted Pretoria to stop this.

His attorney Norman Snitcher, has previously told media that Thai police intended to deport Palazzolo to Italy, possibly because misinformation from the SA government implied that South Africa had “washed its hands” of Palazzolo.

Palazzolo holds SA citizenship, but it is understood that the Home Affairs minister is looking at revoking this, because she believes it was conferred unlawfully and fraudulently in 1986.

A legal source confirmed last night that Palazollo failed in his court bid, although the judge did apparently order International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to convey to the Thai government that he was an SA citizen and entitled to enter South Africa.

The source said the court order would not stop the Thai authorities from deporting Palazzolo if they wished, but was unable to say with certainty whether this would take place today.

Palazzolo (64) was detained on March 30 at Bangkok airport. He was sentenced in Italy in 2006 to nine years in jail for criminal association as a member of the Sicilian Mafia. — WR.

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