Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Italy Convicts 23 Americans for CIA Renditions

What with Indonesia holding War Crimes hearings vis-a-vis CIA Guantanamo torture, now Italy has carried through on a long standing threat and has convicted 23 US agents for their part in CIA "extraordinary renditions," on Italian soil. The justice had the legalistic audacity to call such practice "abduction," thereby stifling trivializing terminology.
In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, an Italian judge convicted a C.I.A. station chief and 22 other Americans accused of being C.I.A. agents of kidnapping in the 2003 abduction of a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan.

An enormous symbolic victory for Italian prosecutors, the case was the first ever to contest the United States practice of rendition, in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken for questioning in another, presumably one more open to coercive interrogation techniques. The case was widely seen as an implicit indictment of the measures the Bush administration relied on to fight terrorism.

Judge Oscar Magi handed an eight-year sentence to Robert Seldon Lady, a former C.I.A. station chief in Milan, and five-year sentences to 22 other Americans. Three of the other high-ranking Americans were given diplomatic immunity, including Jeffrey Castelli, a former C.I.A. station chief in Rome.

No more trips to Rome!
All the Americans were tried in absentia and are considered fugitives.

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