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Reuters: Italy convicts former CIA agents in rendition trial

4 November 2009 No Comment

“The U.S. State Department expressed its disappointment with the verdict…”

MILAN/ROME (Reuters) – An Italian judge sentenced 23 Americans to up to eight years in prison on Wednesday for the abduction of a Muslim cleric, in a symbolic condemnation of the CIA “rendition” flights used by the former U.S. government.

The Americans were all tried in absentia because the United States refused to extradite them…

The heaviest sentence — eight years in prison — was handed down to the former head of the CIA’s Milan station, Robert Seldon Lady, while 21 other former agents got five years each.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Romano was also sentenced to five years, despite a request from the Pentagon that the case should be tried by U.S. courts.

Magi dropped the case against three Americans, including a former CIA Rome station chief, because of diplomatic immunity.

Charges were also dropped against five Italians, including the former head of the Sismi military intelligence service, Nicolo Pollari, because evidence against them violated state secrecy rules.

However, the judge sentenced two more junior Sismi agents to three years in prison as accomplices, indicating Italian authorities were aware of the abduction.