Thursday, November 05, 2009

Justice for rendition

In 2003, Osama Mustafa Hassan (AKA Abu Omar), an Egyptian refugee, was snatched off the street in Milan by the CIA, flown to Egypt, and tortured in the name of the "war on terror". Now, six years later, an Italian court has convicted 23 Americans for their role in the kidnapping:

The former head of the CIA in Milan Robert Lady was given an eight-year jail sentence for his part in the seizure of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, who claimed that he was subsequently tortured in Egypt. Lady's superior, Jeff Castelli, the then head of the CIA in Italy, and two other Americans were acquitted on the grounds that they enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

But another 21 alleged CIA operatives and a US air force officer were each sentenced to five years in jail. All were tried in absentia and those who were convicted will be regarded as fugitives under Italian law.

Two low-ranking Italian spies were also convicted and sentenced to three years jail. But as with the Americans, their superiors - the former head and deputy head of their secret service - were acquitted, on the grounds that the evidence against them was secret and could not be used in court. So, its not perfect - the trial was in absentia and the kingpins walk - but it is some justice for rendition. And if any of those CIA scum are dumb enough to set foot outside the USA ever again, maybe they'll get a feeling of what it feels like to be bundled into an aircraft and flown to another country to be punished - though as the result of a legal extradition warrant.