The ongoing coup d'etat in The Vatican has taken has taken an unexpected turn as Benedict XVI, once the Holy See's leader and now its highest-profile political prisoner, has been transferred to the Castel Gandolfo detention camp in Rome.
Whilst not mentioning the former Pope by name, Vatican officials had previously stated that detainees at the "CasGan" detention and interrogation facility could be considered outside the Vatican's legal jurisdiction.
A spokeswoman for Amnesty International has raised concerns that the transfer is part of the Vatican's continued attempts to restrict access to the former Pontiff and to silence him. "Benedict has made it clear that the decryption key to the Catholeaks file could be distributed to the international media at any time. The Vatican have implied that Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners do not apply at the camp they are transferring him to" she added, "Catholeaks has the Vatican very worried. They are trying to intimidate Benedict and there is the very real chance that he will be tortured at CasGan".
Days before the coup, Benedict XVI and Wikileaks released a joint statement saying that, unless the Pope was granted passage to Ecuador, they would publish a dossier that would "shake the very foundations of the Catholic Church". The dossier was sent to media outlets around the world in an encrypted file called Catholeaks, and the contents of the file remain a mystery.
We spoke to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange through an open window of the Ecuadorian embassy. "Releasing the information in the Catholeaks file is obviously in the public interest. Therefore it's only right that Bennie and I should withhold that information and instead use it to blackmail our governments into letting us go to Ecuador"
The former pope has remained silent over the contents of the dossier, instead taking time to thank his supporters online and seemingly making light of his situation. In what some supporters see as a taunt aimed at the Vatican regime who will be struggling to find a replacement who will look legitimate in the eyes of Roman Catholics around the world, Benedict tweeted:
#OnePopeToRuleThemAll - until next month at least LOL
Defiant: "PrisonerXVI" former Pope Benedict fights his way free from handlers and raises his arms, before being tazed and bundled into a military helicopter headed for the high-security Castel Gandolfo prison camp