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Panama refuses to extradite CIA’s Lady to Italy

Press TV – July 20, 2013

Panama has refused to extradite the former CIA chief of Milan station to Italy where he has been sentenced to nine years in prison for the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric on suspicion of terrorist activities.

Italian justice ministry’s press office on Thursday announced that Robert Seldon Lady, also known as “Mister Bob,” has been arrested in Panama. However, it is not clear when and where he has been arrested.

On Friday, the US State Department confirmed Lady was on his way back to the United States. Italy had asked Panama to hold Lady while an extradition request was being made.

Panama foreign ministry sources have said the documents submitted by Italy for the extradition were “insufficient,” according to Italian media.

Italy’s Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said Friday that she was “deeply disappointed” by Panama’s decision not to return Lady to Italy.

The former Milan CIA station chief was sentenced to nine years in jail for the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Twenty-two other Americans involved in the kidnapping were each sentenced to five years in prison.

The court ordered each of the 23 convicts, none of whom appeared for the trial, to pay one million euros (about $1.3 million) to Abu Omar, plus 500,000 euros to his wife.

The Muslim cleric was transferred to US military bases in Italy and later in Germany before being flown to Egypt. He was later set free in Egypt.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-CIA station chief in Milan detained in Panama

RT | July 18, 2013

A former station chief with the CIA has been detained in Panama after being on the run from Italian police for more than a decade.

Robert Seldon Lady, 59, was reportedly brought into custody early Thursday after surfacing in the Central American country. An Italian court convicted him in 2009 in absentia of abducting an Egyptian terror suspect from the streets of Milan, and he was sentenced in early 2013 to nine years in prison. Only now, however, has he been caught, according to a statement made Thursday by the Italian justice ministry.

The case against Lady marked the first time ever that a CIA agent was accused of kidnapping and brought to trial. Twenty-two other Americans, mostly intelligence officers, were also convicted for their role in the “extraordinary rendition” of a Muslim cleric.

Lady was the station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency post in Milan during the time of the abduction. He is accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr and assisting in his years’ long detention which was reportedly accompanied with bouts of torture.

“I’m not guilty. I’m only responsible for carrying out orders that I received from my superiors,” Lady told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper in 2009.

Previously, Lady told GQ magazine in a candid interview that, “When you work in intelligence, you do things in the country in which you work that are not legal.”

“It’s a life of illegality,” said Lady, “But state institutions in the whole world have professionals in my sector, and it’s up to us to do our duty.”

“I console myself by reminding myself that I was a soldier, that I was in a war against terrorism, that I couldn’t discuss orders given to me,” Lady said to Italian journalists.

Lady had served just shy of a quarter-century with the CIA at the time of the crime. He described his former employer to GQ years later as “the vanguard of democracy” and his role as “the greatest job I ever had.”

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Italy’s president pardons US colonel with no justifiable reason

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Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar
Press TV – April 6, 2013

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has pardoned, without presenting a justifiable reason, a US Air Force colonel, who has been convicted in absentia of the abduction and illegal imprisonment of an Egyptian Muslim cleric.

Napolitano’s office said in a statement on Friday that the president had granted the pardon “in hopes of giving a solution to a situation to an affair considered by the United States to be without precedent because of the aspect of convicting a US military officer of Nato for deeds committed on Italian soil.”

Napolitano said he had pardoned Joseph Romano because the US and Italy are close allies and share the ‘common goal of promoting democracy.’ This is while the move to pardon the US convict is believed to be unjustifiable in concrete terms.

Romano was one of the 23 Americans tried and sentenced by Italian courts over the operation to kidnap Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, in 2003.

Italian courts convicted 22 CIA personnel in the Abu Omar case. The CIA agents are believed to be living in the United States. They are unlikely to serve their sentences.

Romano was the only American convicted who was not a CIA employee.

Abu Omar, who was abducted in a joint operation by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI, enjoyed political asylum in Italy at the time.

He was allegedly taken to a US air base in northeastern Italy and then transferred to a US base in Germany and subsequently to Cairo.

Romano was the security chief of northern Italy’s Aviano airbase, where Abu Omar was taken to.

The Muslim cleric, who was released in 2007, says he was tortured in prison by his kidnappers.

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Milan court convicts former CIA chief of kidnapping

Press TV – February 1, 2013

ebrahimpour20130201183320060Milan’s appeals court has sentenced a former Central Intelligence Agency chief to seven years in prison for kidnapping an Egyptian Muslim cleric.

Jeff Castelli was found guilty along with two other agents, who were each given six years for abducting Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, as part of the CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition’ program in 2003.

The trio had been acquitted at their first trial in 2009 due to diplomatic immunity but prosecutors had appealed against the verdict.

Abu Omar, who was kidnapped in a joint operation by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI, enjoyed political asylum in Italy at the time.

He was allegedly taken to a US air base in northeast Italy and then transferred to a US base in Germany and subsequently to Cairo.

The Muslim Cleric, who was released in 2007, claims he was tortured in prison by his kidnappers.

Last year, Italy’s Court of Cassation upheld the convictions of 23 CIA agents over the same incident and ordered new appeals trials for five Italian intelligence agents, including Italy’s top two former military intelligence officers, Nicola Pollari and his ex-deputy Marco Mancini.

The Italian Supreme Court ordered the 23 CIA agents to pay one million euros in damages to Abu Omar and 500,000 euros to his wife.

The ‘extraordinary rendition’ program was launched by former US president George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks as an operation for the global apprehension and incarceration of suspected terrorists.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment