In a landmark ruling, an Italian judge on Wednesday convicted a base chief for the Central Intelligence Agency and 22 other Americans, almost all C.I.A. operatives, of kidnapping a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003.
The case was a huge symbolic victory for Italian prosecutors, who drew the first convictions involving the American practice of rendition, in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken for questioning in another, often one more open to coercive interrogation techniques.
Critics of the Bush administration have long hailed the case as a repudiation of the tactics it used to fight terrorism. And the fact that Italy would actually convict intelligence agents of an allied country was seen as a bold move that could set a precedent in other cases. [continued…]
One of the 23 Americans convicted today by an Italian court says the United States “broke the law” in the CIA kidnapping of a Muslim cleric Abu Omar in Milan in 2003.
“And we are paying for the mistakes right now, whoever authorized and approved this,” said former CIA officer Sabrina deSousa in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson.
DeSousa says the U.S. “abandoned and betrayed” her and the others who were put on trial for the kidnapping. She was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison. [continued…]