A Portuguese court has said a CIA officer must serve a prison sentence in Italy for her role in an extraordinary rendition program. The controversy has embroiled Italian officials as well as American spies.
Ex-CIA officer Sabrina De Sousa was convicted in Italy for her role in the kidnapping of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.
A joint US-Portuguese citizen, De Sousa is one of 26 individuals convicted in absentia over the intelligence organization's extraordinary rendition program, which saw terrorism suspects detained and moved from country to country for interrogation outside of the country's court system.
She was arrested at Lisbon Airport in October on a European warrant. Italian prosecutors want her to serve a six-year prison sentence, although she'll be returned to Portugal to serve the actual jail time after being officially notified of her sentence in Italy.
International arrest warrants have been issued for the other CIA operatives, although as a rule the US doesn't extradite employees of its main intelligence agency.
Political scandal in Italy
Italian officials were also caught up in the political storm surrounding the CIA's rendition program. In 2003, the ex-head of the country's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari,was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement
In late February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)slapped Italy with a 100,000-euro ($87,600) fine
for its participation.
Abu Omar was abducted in Milan in 2003 and flow to Egypt for interrogation as part of the US's so-called "war on terror." He was a member of the terrorist-designated group al-Gamaa ak-Islamiya.
blc/kms (AP, Reuters)