Mercoledì, 19 Settembre 2018

Former CIA chief in Italy sentenced to 7 years


Rome, February 1 - Milan's Court of Appeal on
Friday sentenced the CIA's former Italy chief, Jeff Castelli, to
seven years in prison for involvement in the abduction of Muslim
cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr from the city in 2003, while a
separate court in Perugia acquitted the former head of Italian
secret services for illegal spying charges in the case.
Castelli and fellow CIA operatives Betnie Medero and Ralph
Russomando were acquitted on the grounds of diplomatic immunity
in a 2009 trial that led to 23 US officials being convicted.
The other two agents were sentenced to six years in prison
on Friday.
None of the CIA operatives have ever appeared in court
The case was the first judicial examination of
extraordinary rendition, one of the controversial practices of
America's war on terror, first authorised by Bill Clinton,
widely used under George W. Bush, and extended by Obama on the
condition that torture was stopped.
Also on Friday, Italy's former SISMI secret service chief
Nicolo' Pollari was acquitted for alleged breach of protocol and
illegally obtaining files in the case.
At a preliminary hearing in Perugia, former official Pio
Pompa was also acquitted of the charges but was then indicted on
separate charges of unauthorized espionage, to be tried October
The two were accused of obtaining a confidential disc with
unauthorized files on magistrates, officials and journalists
which pertained to the extraordinary rendition of the Muslim
The former head of SISMI said through his lawyer that he
was "relieved, despite the fact that a State-secrecy injunction
prevented him from fully defending himself".
Pollari and his ex-No.2 Marco Mancini are awaiting a
retrial in the Milan Court of Appeals on separate charges in the
The two have repeatedly been acquitted on appeal in the
past because of the State-secrecy injunction.
In a separate case, Pollari faces corruption charges in an
alleged State-property scam.
Nasr, an Islamist wanted in Italy on suspicion of
recruiting jihadi fighters, disappeared from a Milan street on
February 17, 2003 and emerged from an Egyptian prison four years
later claiming he had been tortured.
The cleric, who is also known as Abu Omar, has not attended
the trials.
Prosecutors said he was snatched by a team of CIA
operatives with SISMI's help and taken to a NATO base in
Ramstein, Germany, en route to Cairo.

(Photo: Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr)

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