Wednesday, September 23, 2009
First Case to Scrutinize CIA-Led Extraordinary Renditions
AP Prosecutor Armando Spataro gestures, during the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of orchestrating a CIA-led kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect, Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. Prosecutors began closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused of orchestrating a CIA-led kidnapping of an Egyptian terrorism suspect. The arguments by prosecutor Armando Spataro signaled the final phase of the first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary renditions program. Spataro's arguments, including the specific sentence he wants for each defendant, are expected to continue into next week. A verdict is expected by year's end. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) (Luca Bruno, AP / September 23, 2009)
"Kidnapping...damaged the fight against terrorism, prosecutors said Wednesday during closing arguments in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians charged with orchestrating a CIA-led abduction."
"...first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program."
"Unbelievable and a little bizarre"
See the rest....
First CIA rendition trial enters final phase with closing arguments in Milan court
9:00 am CDT Colleen Barry AP Writer -- Wednesday Sept 23, 2009
MILAN (AP) — The kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric damaged the fight against terrorism, prosecutors said Wednesday during closing arguments in the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians charged with orchestrating a CIA-led abduction.
The arguments by prosecutor Armando Spataro signaled the final phase of the first trial in any country involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. Prosecutors allege that the 26 Americans were mostly CIA agents who worked with Italian intelligence to organize the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street in February 2003.
"The kidnapping of Imam Abu Omar on Feb. 17, 2003 damaged the fight against terrorism by offering to the same terrorists an excuse to give sermons that gave the impression that ours is not a real democracy but a so-called democracy," Spataro said.
Two protesters broke into the trial at the end of the morning session demanding "justice for Abu Omar." A handful of others outside the courthouse said they were prevented from entering the public trial, with scores of riot police blocking the entrance to the courthouse.
Spataro gave a detailed rendering of the evidence against the American defendants, while the case against the Italians will be laid out next week. The closing arguments will conclude with the sentence he wants for each defendant. A verdict is expected by year's end.
Prosecutors say Nasr, a suspected terrorist, was driven from Milan to Aviano Air Base in Italy, flown to Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany and then to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured. Nasr has been released but remains in Egypt and has not testified at the trial.
The case is the first to scrutinize so-called extraordinary renditions, under which the CIA transferred terrorism suspects to third countries for interrogation. Human rights advocates charge that renditions were the agency's way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where torture was practiced.
The CIA has declined to comment on the Italian case, and all the Americans are being tried in absentia and are considered fugitives. The Italian government has denied any involvement, and all defendants, or their lawyers, have denied the charges.
Cesare Bulgheroni, a lawyer hired to represent Air Force Col. Joseph Romano, who was head of security at Aviano at the time, filed a U.S. Department of Defense request for the Italian court to transfer the case to a U.S. military court since the alleged actions happened while he was carrying out his duties. The judge rejected the motion.
Spataro called the request "unbelievable and a little bizarre," noting that it came 2 1/2 years after the trial began...
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Also see: here
from this URL: here Council of Europe: Ireland, stop US torture flights
Posted by CN at 2:23 PM