STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPHS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
In a dramatic victory for human rights and international law, an Italian judge found 23 American CIA members guilty of kidnaping a Muslim cleric in 2003.
The ruling was the first of its kind on the American practice of extraordinary rendition, through which individuals are captured by CIA or military in a foreign country, often without the knowledge of local authorities, and transported to other countries for detainment, interrogation, and torture.
Former CIA base chief Robert Seldon Lady received the longest sentence of eight years. Others involved were sentenced to five years.
November 4th, 2009
The case focused on the abduction of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr on February 17th, 2003, by CIA agents. Nasr, a Muslim cleric suspected of recruiting jihadists, was transported to a prison in Egypt where he was allegedly tortured. He was released four years later after an Egyptian court ruled his imprisonment "unfounded"
Prosecutor Armando Sparato
Osama Hassan Nasr
Although the convicted Americans may never be imprisoned for their crime, the significance of the trial cannot be understated. Since 2001, the United States has increased the use of "extraordinary rendition" to capture anyone, anywhere, and steal them away to secret prisons located in numerous countries. Basic human and legal rights expose this practice as barbaric and illegal. The Milan ruling sets a precedent that Americans can be prosecuted by sovereign countries for breaking the law under the guise of the "war on terror".
Ultimately, the 23 Americans found guilty are taking the fall for superiors at CIA headquarters, the Pentagon, and the White House who broke the law by ordering the kidnaping and establishing rendition in the first place. It is only a matter of time until the courts of the world confirm the guilt of these generals and politicians, and sentence them to their just punishment.
Judge Oscar Magi