The Milan Court of Appeals [official website, in Italian] on Friday convicted three Americans for their roles in the 2003 rendition kidnapping [JURIST news archive] of Egyptian cleric and terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr. Due to diplomatic immunity, all three men had been acquitted in the previous trial where the Milan court convicted [JURIST report] 23 former CIA agents. Vacating the acquittals, the court now sentenced former CIA station chief Jeff Castelli to seven years, and the two other Americans, Betnie Madero and Ralph Russomando, to six years. The appeals process has been separated for Castelli and the other two men for technical reasons, and the appellate court's reasoning is expected to be released this month.
Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was seized on the streets of Milan in 2003 by CIA agents with the help of Italian operatives, then allegedly transferred to Egypt and tortured by Egypt's State Security Intelligence before being released [JURIST reports] in February 2007. Last September Italy's highest court upheld the convictions [JURIST report] of the 23 former CIA agents, whose sentences had been increased [JURIST report] in December 2010 by an Italian appeals court. Judge Oscar Magi of the Fourth Chamber of the Court of Milan [official website, in Italian] originally convicted [JURIST report] the 23 men in November 2009. The nearly three-year trial was delayed many times, and was the first in the world involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition flights [JURIST news archive].