ROME (Reuters) - Italy proposed tougher penalties for terrorism on Tuesday with jail sentences of up to six years for anyone found guilty of recruiting fighters and measures to block related web sites.
The measures approved by the cabinet, which must still be passed in parliament, follow the Jan. 7 attacks by Islamist gunmen in Paris and the discovery of a plot to kill police in Belgium which have heightened security alerts across Europe.
The proposals would give authorities tougher powers to withdraw the passports of suspected militants and there will be tighter controls on a “black list” of websites, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said after a cabinet meeting.
The bill would allow new penalties for owning explosives, extra surveillance of potential “foreign fighters”, and the person recruited - not just the recruiter - would be punishable.
“We have proposed support for the police in gathering and processing personal information and in the analysis of that information, with the aim of preventing acts of terrorism and crimes against public security,” Alfano said.
In a statement released after the meeting, the cabinet said the measures were similar to those adopted by France, such as criminalizing “terrorist self-training”, for example by using materials found on the Internet.
A total of 15 people deemed dangerous to national security have been expelled from Italy this year, Alfano said, nine of them, suspected Islamist militants, last month.
After the incidents in Paris and Belgium, Alfano had said Italian security services were on maximum alert although no immediate, concrete threat to Italy has yet been reported.
Reporting by Isla Binnie; Additional reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Robin Pomeroy