Home News Portuguese court backs ex-CIA agent’s extradition to Italy

Portuguese court backs ex-CIA agent’s extradition to Italy

Published on 15/01/2016

A Portuguese court has approved the extradition to Italy of a former CIA agent convicted over the kidnapping of an Egyptian imam as part of the agency's secret renditions programme, her lawyer said Friday.

Sabrina de Sousa was one of 23 Americans, including 22 CIA agents, convicted in 2009 by an Italian court over the 2003 abduction in Milan of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as Abu Omar.

The cleric was flown to Egypt where his lawyers say he was tortured.

An Italian court of appeals in 2012 confirmed prison terms of seven to nine years against the Americans.

De Sousa, a Portuguese-American, arrived in Lisbon in April 2015, her French lawyer said at the time.

She was arrested in Lisbon in October as she was about to board a flight to Goa in India where her mother lives, Portuguese media said.

Her lawyer, Manuel de Magalhaes e Silva, said that a court of appeal in Lisbon on Tuesday approved her extradition to Italy.

But he told AFP “the extradition will not take place” yet as he planned to appeal to the Supreme Court and “if necessary” the Constitutional Court.

The trial in Italy was one of the world’s biggest to take aim at Washington’s controversial extraordinary renditions programme, which was set up in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks to capture and interrogate Islamist terror suspects.

Under the programme, suspects were sent to countries where they were detained, interrogated and possibly subjected to ill-treatment.

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella last month reduced the sentences of two of the former CIA agents.

The Italian presidency said the decision was based on the United States’ suspension of the renditions programme since President Barack Obama assumed office in 2009.

Italy has denied any involvement in the rendition of Abu Omar, who now lives in Egypt and was also convicted in absentia and sentenced to six years by an Italian court in 2013