Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
ROME

CIA official held in Panama over Italian snatch case

English
© ANSA

Rome, July 18 - The CIA's former Milan station
chief Robert Lady has been detained in Panama over his role in
the abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr in Italy
in 2003.
Lady has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Italy
over the case.
Italian Justice Minister Annamaria Cancellieri has signed a
request for Lady to be detained provisionally in Panama and
Italy has two months to request an extradition.
Nasr, an Islamist suspected 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.
Nasr was snatched by a team of CIA operatives with the help
of Italian secret service agency SISMI and taken to a NATO base
in Ramstein, Germany, en route to Cairo.
Last September Italy's top court of appeals upheld the
convictions of 22 CIA agents, including Lady, found guilty of
abducting Nasr in the world's first judicial examination of the
controversial US practice of extraordinary rendition in the
so-called war on terror.
Cancellieri's predecessor, Paola Severino, in December
decided launch international search procedures after the
Cassation's ruling, which made the convictions definitive.
In a separate proceedings, former SISMI director Nicolò
Pollari, his deputy Marco Mancini and the CIA's former Italy
chief Jeffrey Castelli were sentence to 10, nine and seven years
in jail respectively in February.
The other two CIA agents were sentenced to six years in
prison.
In April Italian President Giorgio Napolitano pardoned a
retired US airforce officer, Joseph L. Romano, who, like the
other American nationals, was convicted in absentia.
Extraordinary rendition was first authorised by former
American president Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stepped up when
his successor George W. Bush declared war on terror after the
September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda.
During the trials the CIA had refused to comment and its
officers were silent until Lady told an Italian daily in August
2009 that he was only following orders.
Lady, who has now retired, said from an undisclosed
location that he was "a soldier...in a war against terrorism".
The trial of Nasr claimed headlines worldwide and stoked
discussion of rendition, which was extended by President Barack
Obama in 2008 under the proviso that detainees' rights should be
respected.
The Council of Europe, a 47-nation human rights body,called
Nasr's case a "perfect example of rendition".

photo: Justice Minister Annamaria Cancellieri.

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