[News] CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 4 16:55:37 EST 2009


CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap

19:31 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

An Italian judge has convicted 23 Americans - all 
but one of them CIA agents - and two Italian 
secret agents for the 2003 kidnap of a Muslim cleric.

The agents were accused of abducting Hassan 
Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar, from Milan 
and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.

The trial, which began in June 2007, is the first 
involving the CIA's so-called "extraordinary rendition" programme.

The Obama administration has expressed its disappointment at the convictions.

"We are disappointed by the verdicts," state 
department spokesman Ian Kelly said in Washington.

He declined to comment further pending a written 
opinion from the judge, but said an appeal was likely.

Three Americans and five Italians were acquitted by the court in Milan.

Symbolic ruling

The Americans were all tried in their absence as 
they have not been extradited from the US to Italy.
“ For us, this first case puts the war on terror on trial ”
Joanne Mariner Human Rights Watch spokeswoman

The CIA's Milan station chief at the time, Robert 
Lady, was given an eight-year term, while the 
other 22 Americans convicted - one of them a US 
air force colonel - were sentenced to five years in prison.

Lawyers for the 23 Americans said they would appeal against their convictions.

The two Italian agents, who were convicted as 
accomplices to kidnapping, were given three-year prison terms.

The court also ruled that those convicted must 
pay 1m euros ($1.5m) in damages to Abu Omar and 500,000 euros to his wife.

CIA spokesman George Little in Washington 
declined to comment on the convictions, telling 
the Associated Press news agency: "The CIA has 
not commented on any of the allegations surrounding Abu Omar."

Secrecy laws

Italian prosecutors said Abu Omar was taken as 
part of a series of extraordinary renditions 
carried out by the CIA - when terror suspects 
were moved between countries without any public legal process.

They told the court he had been kidnapped in 
daylight on a Milan street in February 2003 and 
flown to Germany, and then Cairo, where he was 
held for years until being released without charge.

Judge Oscar Magi acquitted the CIA chief for 
Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, saying he was protected 
by state secrecy rules, as were the former head 
of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo 
Pollari, and his deputy, Marco Mancini.

Mr Pollari, who resigned over the affair, told 
the court earlier this year that documents 
showing he had no involvement in the kidnapping 
were classified under secrecy laws.

Prosecutor Armando Spataro rejected the argument 
that legal provisions could shield those accused 
from prosecution, saying any agreement to carry 
out a kidnapping was "absolutely against Italian law".

He had sought a 13-year jail term for Mr Castelli 
and Mr Pollari and 12 years for Robert Lady.

Activist group Human Rights Watch welcomed the 
verdict, saying it sent "a strong signal of the 
crimes committed by the CIA in Europe".

Spokeswoman Joanne Mariner said: "For us, this 
first case puts the war on terror on trial."
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/8343123.stm

Published: 2009/11/04 19:31:47 GMT

© BBC MMIX




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