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.