Italy on Friday approved the creation of a national DNA database to allow greater cooperation among states in the fight against terrorism, a step in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks that killed 31 people and injured around 300.
The database would store the DNA samples from different categories of people including those who are being held in custody or under house arrest, those who are arrested while committing a crime, the presumed authors of voluntary crimes and convicts with a definitive sentence.
Based on the new law, profiles can be retained for a maximum of 40 years while biological samples would be destroyed after 20 years.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano hailed the database as a "formidable power tool from the IT point of view." He said the database will allow to store DNA information of fundamental importance both in the fight against terrorism, and against organized crime and irregular immigration.
The move came in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks. Local media said among the victims there could be also an Italian national, Patricia Rizzo, an official for a European Commission agency who is presently listed among the missing people.
Justice Minister Andrea Orlando stressed that the DNA database will be crucial to increase the security level in Italy. He said the data collection will start soon in the coming days and will not only ease investigations but also help deal with cases that had been considered unresolved so far.
Italian experts agree that Italy has one of the most advanced anti-terrorism systems in Europe, but the strategic aim should be increased exchange of information with European Union (EU) member states, an objective which looks very hard to achieve.
"In a geopolitical scenario where it is difficult to get along as regards short term migration policies, I wonder whether it is possible that (EU) member states give up one of the cornerstones of their sovereignty, that is to say their intelligence," Rome Prefect Franco Gabrielli was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"Robust increase in public investment, and with a common intelligence, defense and foreign policy should be put at the center of the anti-terror fight," Italy's leading economic daily
Il Sole 24 Ore said.
As part of anti-terrorism measures, according to Alfano also on Friday, Italy has repatriated nine terror-related people so far this year and a total of 75 last year. The latest was a Moroccan
national and former president of a local Islamic center "known for his fundamentalist stance and desire to go fight in Syria."
Earlier this week, Italian leaders called for a European common strategy as the only effective tool against the terrorist threat as the country raised security measures at airports, railway stations, subways, and all places considered at risk.
Thanks to Marzie De Giuli.
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