[JURIST] Brazilian intelligence service Abin [official website, in Portuguese] has pledged to investigate published reports that its agents wiretapped a variety of top Brazilian officials, including Supreme Federal Court [official website] president Gilmar Mendes. Veja [media website], a Brazilian weekly newsmagazine, made the claim in an article in its latest issue, published late last week. The officials said to have been wiretapped also include top associates of current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as well as several members of the country's Congress. Abin said in statement Saturday that Brazil's Justice Ministry [official website] will also investigate the claims, and news agency Agencia Brasil reported Sunday that Menes with meet with Lula on the matter later this week.
The Veja article quoted Mendes as saying he did not believe the government authorized any wiretaps on him. The reason for the alleged wiretaps remains unclear, although Brazilian media speculate that they may have been undertaken in connection with local elections seen as possible bellweathers of the chances of Lula's party in the country's 2010 presidential election. AP has more.
[JURIST] The leaders of Italy and Libya Saturday signed a accord under which Italy pledged to invest $5 billion [press release, in Italian] in Libya as compensation for its colonial rule over the north African state from 1911 to 1943. Meeting with Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi before a crowd which included descendants of Libyan resistance fighters, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi publicly apologized [transcript, in Italian] for his country's conduct, expressing "in the name of the Italian people our regret and apologies for the deep wounds that we have caused you." Under the agreement Libya promised to take action against illegal immigration, which Berlusconi described as a scourge organized by "slave traders". Italy and Libya have been working on a compensation treaty for years. The present agreement does not address claims of repatriated Italians against their own government for losses incidental to the end of colonial rule in Libya. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.
Libya [JURIST news archive] was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1911, when it was invaded by Italian troops [backgrounder] and occupied. The country formally became an Italian colony in 1934. Italy surrendered control of it to advancing British and French forces in 1943 in the midst of World War II. The modern state of Libya became fully independent with the end of a Franco-British UN-authorized mandate [backgrounder] in 1951.
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