Milan prosecutor Armando Spataro has done something no one else has:

He obtained the first convictions involving the CIA practice of 'rendition.'




Corriere Della Sera, Italy

CIA Agents Convicted of Kidnapping; Italian Officials Walk Free


"The authors of the kidnapping of Abu Omar were all American - and the evidence proves this. As for the former Italian intelligence officials, the ruling shows that there was evidence incriminating them."


-- Milan Deputy Prosecutor Armando Spataro


Translated By Enrico Del Sero


November 5, 2009


Corriere Della Sera - Italy - Original Article (Italian)

Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, shows the scars he says were inflicted on him by torture in an Egyptian prison, after he was 'renditioned' there by America's Central Intelligence Agency.


BBC VIDEO NEWS: The CIA is found guilty of kidnapping by an Italian court, 00:02:38 RealVideo

MILAN: The former head of Sismi [Military Intelligence and Security Service] Niccolò Pollari and another former official of the same agency, Marco Mancini [former chief of operations], could not be called to account in the case of the kidnapping of Abu Omar [aka/ Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr] due to the issue of state secrecy. Pollari faced 13 years behind bars and Mancini 10. Instead, 23 CIA agents were convicted (almost all of the accused) - 22 of them to 5 years imprisonment, while Robert Seldon Lady [former CIA station chief] was sentenced to eight years. The United States was "disappointed" by the verdict, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.


THE RULING: The ruling by Judge Oscar Magi in Milan was read after the jury deliberated for three hours. Sismi officials Pio Pompa and Luciano Seno, who were accused of aiding abetting, were sentenced to three years. Finally, former CIA station chief in Rome, Jeff Castelli, and two of his colleagues, were shielded by diplomatic immunity. Judge Magi also ordered all defendants found guilty to pay €1 million [$1.45 million] provisional compensation to the former imam and €500,000 [$750,000] for Abu Omar's wife, but said that the level of compensation would ultimately be settled in a civil suit.


[Editor's Note: All the Americans were tried in absentia and are considered fugitives. Through their court-appointed lawyers, they pleaded not guilty.]


NON-SUIT FOR ITALIANS: On the basis of Article 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which reads, "If there is confirmation of the admission of state secrets and if the information covered by state secrecy turns out to be essential to the determination of the outcome of the trial, the judge must rule the case a non-suit," the judge ruled the case against Pollari a non-suit. Sismi's former number two, Marco Mancini, received the same outcome.



'INNOCENT ANYWAY': General Nicolò Pollari, in a conference call with his fellow defendants, commented on the non-suit ruling: "If these state secrets had been revealed by the relevant agencies, I would have not only have been proven innocent, but there would never have been any legal action taken against me." To his defenders this evening, the former Sismi chief seemed extremely emotional, but determined to reassert his innocence as he has since day one.


THE EXULTATION OF MANCINI: Marco Mancini [photo, right] was almost jubilant after the ruling was issued. Sismi's former number two, who faced 10 years in prison, rushed out of the courtroom and was visibly trying to contain his emotions - before being reached by his lawyers: "No comment," they suggested. But to those who pointed out that this was not an acquittal on the merits but a non-ruling due to the issue of state secrecy, Mancini had already replied: "Look, this isn't a disease." Desolate, however, was [Sismi agent] Colonel Luciano Seno, who was sentenced to three years for aiding and abetting [kidnapping]: “How can it be that they have been cleared of the abduction and I’ve been condemned? It’s madness.”




Guardian Unlimited, U.K.: Criminal Justice Rendered Impotent

Publico, Spain: Torture Charges Filed Against Bush Legal Team

Corriere Della Sera, Italy: Italy Says CIA Guilty of Abduction, Issues Europe-Wide Arrest Warrants

Corriere Della Sera, Italy: U.S. Must Fess Up to CIA Kidnapping on Italian Soil

Tageblatt, Luxembourg: Europe Investigator Into CIA Activity Comes Under Criticism

Le Monde, France: Governments Across Europe Investigate CIA 'Renditions'

Le Monde Diplomatique, France: Law Will Catch Up With CIA's European 'Accomplices'

La Repubblica, Italy: Italy's Spymasters Arrested for Aiding CIA Kidnappings

Corriere Della Sera, Italy: Ex-Intelligence Chief, CIA Agents Indicted for Kidnapping

Corriere Della Sera, Italy: U.S. Must Fess Up to CIA Kidnapping on Italian Soil


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PUBLIC PROSECUTOR SATISFIED: Satisfaction was also expressed by Milan deputy prosecutor Armando Spataro, who said the ruling, "shows that our action was legitimately pursued.” Spataro acknowledged that the now-concluded case was a, "difficult trial conducted with great professionalism by Judge Oscar Magi. I think it’s very important for everyone that this trial has been seen through to the end. The truth of the case was reconstructed during an investigation by police and the Milano prosecutor’s office. The authors of the kidnapping of Abu Omar were all American - and the evidence proves this. As for the former officials of Sismi, the ruling shows that there was evidence to incriminate them." Finally, the magistrate said he wanted to attend to what motivated the Italians who were accused but not convicted before deciding on whether to appeal their acquittals.  




'A COURAGEOUS RULING': Human Rights Watch described the decision of the Court of Milan on the Abu Omar case as “courageous.”


"No one was found innocent" said Joanne Mariner, terrorism program director at the organization, "even if some have been able to avoid imprisonment due to a broad interpretation of state secrecy given by the Constitutional Court." Mariner added, "The Italian government was held responsible for having collaborated with the CIA. Coming from an Italian court, this ruling is courageous and we agree with the prosecutor when he says that diplomatic immunity is not designed to protect people involved in serious abuses of human rights."








































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US November 6, 10:59am]


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