CIA bitch-slapped in Italian rendition trial

So, a guilty verdict in the rendition case in Italy. It is heartening to see that the rule of law and human rights still mean something in some countries.

Basically, the CIA kidnapped a Muslim cleric off the street in Milan in 2003. He was taken secretly out of the country, eventually ending up in Egypt where he was tortured. He was released without charge three years later. The court case  sought to establish the guilt of those involved in the kidnap:

Twenty-two of the Americans – all of them tried in absentia – were immediately sentenced to five years in prison at the end of the three-year trial.

The Milan station chief at the time, Robert Seldon Lady, received an eight-year sentence. Three other Americans were acquitted due to diplomatic immunity and five Italians due to lack of evidence after the Italian government cited state security, the judge said.

This is a result that I never thought I would see from the usually gutless European courts that fold as soon as the United States involved. None of the Americans charged were present in court, but they were represented by lawyers. The Telegraph also reports that “the Milan proceedings have been a source of tension in relations between the US and Italy.” I’ll bet it was/is!

Whether the charges hold up is another matter. The original rendition took place under Berlusconi’s watch. Let’s see what tricks he pulls now to appease the Americans. For now, I’m just hoping that the CIA might think twice before acting as if they have worldwide immunity in perpetrating what amounts to terrorist-like behaviour.

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