Italy: court convicts three for CIA ‘rendition’

The Milan Court of Appeals on Feb. 1 convicted three US nationals for their roles in the 2003 "rendition" kidnapping of Egyptian cleric and terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr AKA Abu Omar. Due to diplomatic immunity, all three men had been acquitted in the previous trial where the Milan court convicted 23 former CIA agents. Vacating the acquittals, the court now sentenced former CIA station chief Jeff Castelli to seven years, and the two other Americans, Betnie Madero and Ralph Russomando, to six years. The appeals process has been separated for Castelli and the other two men for technical reasons, and the appellate court's reasoning is expected to be released this month.

Nasr was seized on the streets of Milan in 2003 by CIA agents with the help of Italian operatives, then allegedly transferred to Egypt and tortured by Egypt's State Security Intelligence before being released in February 2007. Last September, Italy's highest court upheld the convictions  of the 23 former CIA agents, whose sentences had been increased in December 2010 by an Italian appeals court. Judge Oscar Magi of the Fourth Chamber of the  Court of Milan originally convicted the 23 men in November 2009. The nearly three-year trial was delayed many times, and was the first in the world involving the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" flights.

From Jurist, Feb. 2. Used with permission.

  1. Italy spy chief convicted for role in CIA rendition
    A Milan appeals court on Feb. 12 sentenced Niccolo Pollari, the former Italian spy chief, to 10 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of a terror suspect as part of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) extraordinary rendition program. Pollari was head of the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI at the time of the Abu Omar rendition. Pollari is expected to appeal the decision to Italy’s highest court. Pollari’s former deputy Marco Mancini was also sentenced to nine years.

    From Jurist, Feb. 12. Used with permission.

  2. Italy high court upholds convictions of CIA agents

    Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, on March 11 upheld guilty verdicts against three US defendants in the 2003 extraordinary rendition kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect. The final ruling made by the Italian courts comes after a series of trials spanning six-and-a-half years. The evidence produced against the agents was a result of Italian detective work which discovered documents and cellular records linked to the kidnapping. Of the three CIA agents, Rome station chief Jeff Castelli was given a seven-year sentence while the other two received a six-year sentence.

    Frmo Jurist, March 12. Used with permission.