[News] CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap
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.
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."
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:
Published: 2009/11/04 19:31:47 GMT
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