The highest court of appeal in Italy today upheld the sentences passed on 23 Americans tried in absentia in Italy. The men were charged with kidnapping a Muslim Cleric who was a terror suspect. In 2003 he was snatched by the Americans involved and taken to Egypt. The Egyptian cleric was Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar,
22 of those involved were members of the CIA. The other was an air force pilot. The Americans were charged with "extraordinary rendition, the CIA's practice of transferring suspects to countries where torture is permitted."
All but one of kidnappers were sentenced to seven years in prison. The other, former station chief of CIA operations in Milan, Robert Seldon Lady. received a nine year sentence. However it is unlikely that any of them will actually go to jail. If they keep away from Europe they will in effect get off Scott free. In the past the US has refused to extradite the kidnappers and nothing has changed.
Should any of them decide to visit Europe they could face arrest and imprisonment. Five Italians who are members of that country's secret service could now also stand trial on the same charges.
Abu Omar was allegedly snatched from an Italian Street, flown to Egypt, kept there for months and tortured. No trial of course. Just a brutal kidnap of an individual. If they had proof of wrongdoing why was there no trial?
It was during the aftermath of 9/11 and G W Bush was presiding over an American breakdown in international law and agreements. Detention without trial and evidence was normal practice for those suspected of terrorism. Not those caught in the act. Simply those suspected.
Details of the trial and sentence here
OPINION: Once again confirmation that US authorities have for years believed that they can break all the rules. For them the ends must justify the means. Of course when you surrender human rights and disregard international laws sooner or later it will backfire on you. The US is now reaping what it has sowed.