Italian Court Increases Sentences For CIA Agents in Kidnapping/Torture Case

An Italian court increased the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia for abducting an Egyptian imam as part of the US “extraordinary rendition” program. While President Obama has promised that no one involved in the torture program would be prosecuted and has refused to extradite the CIA employees to Italy, the Italian courts have refused to ignore the violation of Italian laws by the United States.

The agents were also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros (2.0 million dollars) in damages to radical cleric Osama Mustafa Hassan (known as Abu Omar) and his wife for the 2003 abduction. The operation was allegedly coordinated by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI. Abu Omar, was allegedly taken to the Aviano US air base in northeastern Italy, flown to a US base in Germany, and then on to Cairo, where he says he was tortured.

This would be an example of how courts can stand up to political pressure (after Wikileaks showed the Obama Administration pressured Spanish courts to drop its case against Bush officials for torture) . . . except for the fact that the court acquitted the then head of Italian military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari, and his assistant Marco Mancini. The reason is that the government claimed the Italian version of the state secrets privilege.

That ruling creates a rather bizarre situation where the court convicts everyone but the Italian officials in the conspiracy. If the others could be prosecuted without violating state secrets, one would think these defendants could have been similarly prosecuted. More importantly, there should be an exception under state secrets for criminal acts or any government could simply commit crimes with impunity under the privilege.

Putting that aside, it is distressing to other nations pursuing these cases while the Obama Administration blocks cases both domestically and internationally. What is clear is that these agents will not be able to travel outside of the United States without risking arrest.

Source: Google

Jonathan Turley

15 thoughts on “Italian Court Increases Sentences For CIA Agents in Kidnapping/Torture Case

  1. This would be an example of how courts can stand up to political pressure . . . except for the fact that the court acquitted the then head of Italian military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari, and his assistant Marco Mancini.

    This is about politics, not justice. There seems to be a dearth of justice going around lately.

  2. So the next time the CIA wants to do the dirty in Italy they just need to hire locals – QED.

    As glad as I am that there is still some court somewhere in the world that will call America into account I am depressed that the same court gives a pass to its own miscreants.

  3. You are right Lottakatz. It is a hollow decision at best. If the local officials are absolved by their version of the states secrets privilege, they are just taking the easy road to save face. I am glad that they did state that the CIA violated the rights of the detainee. It would be nice to see Obama put half as much effort into curbing these abuses here and abroad, as he has in getting this awful tax deal passed.

  4. It would be nice to Cheney squirm a bit and get hauled off to a Nigerian jail. It looks like Haliburton has offered $250 Million as a settlement. Just one more bribe!

  5. Check out rawstory for the CIA’s all out gift to its torture doctors in Gitmo. This govt. is doing everything it can to shield people who torture and murder. They also put every possible resource into going after those who expose their crimes. Glenn Greenwald has written on the torture of Bradley Manning. The bible gets a few things right, this is one of them; “You will know them by their fruits”.

  6. Hi Jill, I’ve seen some coverage of the Veterans for Peace march on the web, I’m not expecting much coverage if any from the MSM, and I’m wondering how it went. Did you attend, get a good crowd, get to talk to any politicians. I saw that there were some arrests. Were you one of the marchers against the fence? I hope it went well for you. It looked like an upbeat crowd.

  7. Jill

    “Check out rawstory for the CIAs all out gift to its torture doctors in Gitmo.”

    =========

    Haven’t seen the story yet, but know that the CIA’s domestic footprint looms large — there are too many who seem willing to engage in torture, even against U.S. citizens. I sound like a broken record, but will say it again. There’s wicked stuff goin’ on right here at home.

    lottakatz, Thanks for asking — I’ve been wonderding, too… I wanted to go, but had to work.

  8. lottakatz

    “There seems to be a dearth of justice going around lately.”

    ==============

    We’ve definitely reached a tipping point — I hope it isn’t too late…

  9. A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial by Steve Hendricks is on my list… (Has anyone read it?)

    Correction: wonderding SB wondering… 🙂

  10. Lottakatz and anon nurse,

    Unfortunately, I did not go. WarisACrime.org has good coverage here: http://warisacrime.org/ I was sorry not to be there because I felt this was a very important statement against the war.

    It is possible that I will be able to post eye witness accounts at a later date. If so, I will do this.

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