Italy’s ex-spy chief sentenced to 10 years in jail over CIA case

Italy’s ex-spy chief sentenced to 10 years in jail over CIA case

PanARMENIAN.Net - Italy's former military intelligence chief was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Tuesday, February 12 for his role in the kidnapping of an Egyptian Muslim cleric in an operation organized by the United States, Reuters said.

An American former CIA station chief was this month sentenced in absentia to seven years in jail after imam Abu Omar was snatched from a Milan street in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation during the United States' "war on terror".

The Milan appeals court sentenced Niccolo Pollari, former head of the Sismi military intelligence agency, to 10 years in prison and his former deputy Marco Mancini to nine years.

The court also awarded a provisional 1 million euros in damages to the imam, the Ansa news wire reported, as well as 500,000 euros to the imam's wife.

Nicola Madia, a lawyer for Pollari, said he was disturbed by the decision and that his client would appeal to Italy's highest court. Pollari will not have to go to jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Madia said Pollari had not been able to defend himself properly because successive Italian governments had declared the case to be covered by state secrecy laws.

The sentences are part of the fallout from a campaign waged by then U.S. president George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Abu Omar says he was tortured for seven months after being flown to Egypt in what was known as an "extraordinary rendition" operation. He was resident in Italy at the time of his abduction.

Former CIA Rome station chief Jeffrey Castelli and two other American officials were convicted in their absence by the Milan appeals court for their part in the plot, but are unlikely to serve their sentences.

Human rights groups have been fighting to expose heavy-handed tactics used by the CIA during the Bush administration.

 Top stories
Obama's administration has drawn criticism for its long-standing policy of prohibiting concessions to militant groups.
Barak, who also previously served as Israel’s PM, said that he and Netanyahu were ready to attack Iran each year.
AI contends that the charges were fabricated in retaliation for the couple’s human rights work and criticism of the government.
Prosecutors in France stopped short of declaring they were certain, saying only that there was a "very strong presumption".
Partner news