Italy Convicts 23 Americans In CIA ‘Rendition’ Trial


NEW YORK TIMES: MILAN — Twenty-three Americans, including a C.I.A. station chief, were convicted on Wednesday in a landmark case involving the seizure of a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan more than six years ago. But three of the higher-ranking Americans defendants were given diplomatic immunity, as were the two highest-ranking Italian defendants. And while the C.I.A. station chief in Milan, Robert Seldon Lady, received an 8-year-term, and the other 22 Americans to 5 years each, all were tried in absentia and it is unlikely that any will serve. Still, the tortureflag.jpegtrial was an enormous symbolic victory for Italian prosecutors. It was the first time that American agents were tried in a foreign country for kidnapping in a case of the United States practice of rendition, in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken for questioning in another, presumably one more open to coercive interrogation techniques. The case was widely seen as a referendum on Bush administration foreign policy, and the convictions were an implicit indictment of the measures it relied on to fight terrorism. Italian prosecutors had charged the Americans, almost all of whom were accused of being C.I.A. agents, and seven members of the Italian military intelligence agency, in the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors said he c was snatched in broad daylight, flown from an American air base in Italy to a base in Germany and then on to Egypt, where he claims he was tortured. MORE

WIKIPEDIA: Extraordinary rendition and irregular rendition are terms used to describe the apprehension and illegal transfer of a person from one state to another.[1]Torture by proxy” is used by some critics to describe situations in which the United States has purportedly transferred suspected terrorists to countries known to employ harsh interrogation techniques that may rise to the level of torture. It is alleged that the CIA runs a secret global tortureflag.jpegabduction and internment operation of suspected terrorists, known as “extraordinary rendition”, which since 2001 has captured about 3,000 people and transported them around the world. It has been alleged that torture has been employed with the knowledge or acquiescence of the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom. Condoleezza Rice, then United States Secretary of State, said in an April 2006 radio interview that the United States does not transfer people to places where it is known they will be tortured.[1][2][3] The US program prompted several official investigations in Europe into alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states. June 2006 report from the Council of Europe estimated 100 people had been kidnapped by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on EU territory (with the cooperation of Council of Europe members), and rendered to other countries, often after having transited through secret detention centers (“black sites“) used by the CIA, some sited in Europe. According to the separate European Parliament report of February 2007, the CIA has conducted 1,245 flights, many of them to destinations where suspects could face torture, in violation of article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.[4] MORE

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