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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Jailed Quaker to Be Released From Italian Cell

Aired August 14, 2001 - 11:34   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news now out of Genoa, Italy. Want to bring our Chris Burns in. He has news of the American who has been held as a prisoner ever since those protests at the G8 Summit meeting and following those protests.

Chris, what's the latest?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Daryn. In fact, even four Americans, including Susanna Thomas from New Jersey, are to be released, according to a lawyer for Ms. Thomas. She said that a panel of three judges have just decided that they are to be released after they've been held, along with 19 Austrians in a theater group, for accused of being related to -- somehow linked to the violence around the Genoa G8 Summit last month. They were accused of criminal association and intent to destroy property. The judges have decided to free them.

It's not entirely clear exactly whether the trial will go on in absentia for the accused. But at least they're being told that they can leave the country. That also, of course, follows a (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Yesterday there were interviews of Ms. Thomas and other suspects by the judicial panel, questioning them if -- what kind of involvement they may have had in those protests. Apparently the judges are persuaded that Ms. Thomas and the other three Americans were not linked to any of the violence -- Daryn.

KAGAN: This is going to be great news for those Americans and their families that have been so worried about them back here in the U.S. What kind of time frame are we talking, Chris?

BURNS: That's a good question. According to a U.S. embassy source in the past, that kind of situation has gone very quickly. In fact, usually the government gives people who are -- it looks like it's a deportation. If it is a deportation, it is within 24 hours. This does mean that the judges do not see these people as entirely innocent. They could see them as possibly culpable in some way. It is declaring them persona non grata, which means that they have to leave the country. They have no choice -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Chris Burns with breaking news out of Genoa. Chris, thank you.

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