Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Footnote to the preceding

In what a staff writer at the Christian Science Monitor called "a stunning victory," just two days after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that US courts can't challenge the White House on "security" matters, a court in Italy has convicted 23 American CIA agents of kidnapping in a case involving "extraordinary rendition." The BBC reports that two Italian secret agents were also found guilty as accomplices.

The Americans were convicted in abstentia because the US refused to extradite them.

The Center for Constitutional Rights noted rather bitterly that "Rendition victims can get justice in Italy and Canada but not in the US" and that "Our global reputation as a country of laws continues to suffer under the Obama administration" as Obama continues to endorse Bush administration stances.

The Italian case arises out of the seizure of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar. Italian prosecutors
told the court he had been kidnapped in daylight on a Milan street in February 2003 and flown to Germany, and then Cairo, where he was held for years until being released without charge [in 2007].
Nasr told Human Rights Watch that while imprisoned in Egypt "I was hung up like a slaughtered sheep and given electric shocks" and prosecutors charged that he was tortured with electric shocks, beatings, rape threats and genital abuse.

Sentences in the case ranged from five to eight years plus requiring payment of 1.5 million Euros (about $2 million) to Nasr and his wife. Charges against three other Americans and five other Italians had been dropped on grounds of diplomatic immunity and - dammit, every victory is tarnished somehow - "state secrecy rules."

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