Italy government urges cancellation of indictments against intelligence officers

[JURIST] Italy [JURIST news archive] has asked the Italian Constitutional Court [official website] to cancel the indictments of 34 American and Italian intelligence officials [JURIST report] in connection with the 2003 kidnapping and rendition [JURIST news archive] of Egyptian cleric and suspected terrorist Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [JURIST news archive] from Italy. Lawyers for the state say prosecutors exceeded their authority by using evidence that was protected by the state secrets privilege. Prosecutor Armando Spataro has alleged that 25 Americans working for the Central Intelligence Agency, one United States Air Force colonel, and five Italians from Italy's Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [official websites] colluded to kidnap Nasr from Milan. Nasr was then allegedly transferred to Egypt and turned over to Egypt's State Security Intelligence (SSI) [Wikipedia backgrounder], where he was allegedly tortured before being released [JURIST reports] on February 12. In response to US refusals to extradite the agents [JURIST report], Spataro has vowed to hold a trial in absentia [JURIST report].

Montasser al Zayat, the lawyer for Nasr, expressed hope that the Court will not annul the indictments [AKI report], which represent the first charges brought in connection with the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website] has refused to issue an extradition request, pressing for a diplomatic resolution to the issue. AP has more. Il Giornale has local coverage [in Italian].

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.