Saturday, June 25, 2005

Prosecuting for rendition

Coverage of extraordinary rendition - the American practice of transfering suspected terrorists to despotic regimes so they can be tortured - has so far focused on cases like that of Ahmed Agiza, where this has occured with the full complicity of the suspect's host government. But not all governments will cooperate in sending someone overseas to be tortured (something to do with it being a gross violation of the Convention Against Torture), and so it seems that the Americans have resorted to other methods - such as outright kidnapping. But not everyone is willing to look the other way on this, either, and so we now have the situation of Italian prosecutors issuing arrest warrants for 13 members of a CIA snatch squad for the kidnapping of an Islamic cleric, Osama Mustafa Hassan:

An Egyptian woman said she had witnessed the abduction of Mr Hassan on 17 February 2003, while he was walking from his house to the mosque where he preached.

She told police he was stopped by two men dressed as police officers, and cried for help in Arabic as he was bundled into a white van.

According to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Mr Hassan was then driven to the US base at Aviano north of Venice and transferred to another base in Germany, before eventually being taken to Egypt.

The 42-year-old imam called his family in Italy after being released last year, and said he had been tortured with electric shocks during his detention.

(Emphasis added)

Hassan was the subject of a terrorism inquiry at the time of his abduction, and prosecutors are rightfully angry that that inquiry has been hampered (or even scuttled) by the US action. But more importantly, kidnapping someone in order to torture them is a crime in any civilised jurisdiction. And that applies regardless of whether or not the victim is alleged to be a "terrorist".


At least the CIA/Italian services were conscientious enough to take him to a society that tolerates torture. Of all the Imams in Italy, they chose Hassan; makes one hope they got the right guy and prevented some awful things from happening to innocents.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/17/2007 05:59:00 PM