Italy upholds verdict on CIA agents in rendition and torture case
Imam Abu Omar, now living in Egypt
Italy’s highest appeals court has upheld guilty verdicts on 23 Americans, all but one of them CIA agents, accused of kidnapping a terror suspect.
Their case related to the abduction of an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003.
The man, known as Abu Omar, was allegedly flown to Egypt and tortured.
The Americans were tried in absentia, in the first trial involving extraordinary rendition, the CIA’s practice of transferring suspects to countries where torture is permitted.
The practice has been condemned by human rights groups as a violation of international agreements.
The group of Americans – 22 of whom were CIA agents and one an Air Force pilot – are believed to be living in the US and are unlikely to serve their sentences.
Italy has never requested their extradition but they will be unable to travel to Europe without risking arrest…
The court upheld the sentences of the lower court which had sentenced all of them to seven years in prison, apart from Seldon Lady [CIA station chief], who was given a nine-year sentence.
The Court of Cassation also ruled that five senior Italian secret service agents – including the former head of the country’s military intelligence agency – should be tried for their role in the kidnapping.
I have no idea if Abu Omar was connected to terrorism or not. What I do know is that my government, the government of the United States of America broke every relevant law on civil liberties with the rendition and torture program run under the governance of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Anyone associated with that program – especially including the thugs whose only defense is that they were just obeying orders – is equally guilty in my eyes and I am certain in the judgement of history.