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Susanna Thomas to be Released

Aired August 14, 2001 - 12:05   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: And now breaking news out of Genoa, Italy concerning the fate of a young American woman who's been held in prison there following protests at the G8 summit riots.

Let's go ahead and bring in our Chris Burns, who has the latest on the fate of Susanna Thomas -- Chris.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, the lawyer for Susanna Thomas says that the 21-year-old college student from New Jersey is to be released. A three-judge panel here has ordered her to actually leave the country. That looks like a deportation. In other words, the government is not dropping charges against her, only saying that she should leave. She is apparently being released, according to the judge, because she is not a permanent member of this Austrian theater group. That was the group of some 20 Austrians who were rounded up and police said that they were associated with the violence with intent to destroy and they charged Ms. Thomas with the same charges.

However, it does look like she's going to be leaving the country soon. There are three other Americans who remain jailed and we'll have to find out later today if the judges do determine the same thing. This all surrounds the questions over how authorities, police, should be dealing with these protests. There will be more up ahead. There is a NATO meeting in Naples next month. How should the police be dealing with this?

There was some police brutality, also, during these protests. So it's a big debate in this country, how to deal with anti-global protests -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Chris, you say you talked to Susanna Thomas' attorney. Obviously she's going to be thrilled to get out of prison, but did he say what her plans are? Does she plan to come right back here to the U.S.?

BURNS: Well, that's what it looks like. According to an embassy, a U.S. embassy source here says that the usual practice is that somebody who is deported is sent back to their country. That's what it looks like at this point, though we'll have to find out. It's very, very sketchy at this point because the lawyers just found out that information. He's going in to talk to the judge to get more details -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Chris Burns in Genoa -- Chris, thank you.

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