Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany Could Be Next

Italian prosecutors are seeking the extradition of 22 CIA agents involved with the kidnapping and extraordinary rendition of Egyptian Islamic cleric Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Omar was kidnapped by the CIA on a street in Milan and flown to Cairo where he allegedly was tortured.

Also see the English translation of an Italian news article on the extradition request here, reporting among other things that one of the 22 agents is a woman and that no final decision by the Italian Government has been made on whether to formally seek extradition:

Deputy prosecutor general Donatella Grieco has ordered that a request for the extradition of 22 individuals wanted for questioning, signed by anti-terrorism public prosecutors Spataro and Ferdinando Enrico Pomarici, should be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice. The request will go to the minister, Roberto Castelli, who has been asked to send it on to the American legal authorities. In theory, the code allows the minister the option of “refusing or delaying” the public prosecutors’ request, thus creating a major political issue. It is interesting to note that Mr Castelli has just returned from Washington, where he went “to meet the American Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales”. During their talks, the two discussed “several letters rogatory” and “extradition cases”. Italian sources refused to release any details of the discussions, but it is thought likely that the Calipari case and perhaps also the Abu Omar abduction were on the agenda.

Germany may also be interested in extraditing those involved in the kidnapping.

According to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, a German prosecutor has opened a separate investigation into the February 2003 kidnapping of the imam, better known as Abu Omar, who was abducted from a Milan sidewalk and driven some 175 miles to an Italian air base where he was put aboard a military flight to another air base in Germany. The Aviano air base in Italy and the Ramstein air base in Germany are home to units of the U.S. Air Force. According to Spataro's investigation, Abu Omar was put aboard a different plane at Ramstein for the final leg of the flight to Cairo, where he has been interrogated and imprisoned except for a brief release in April of last year.

The German prosecutor, Eberhard Bayer, whose district includes the Ramstein base, said two weeks ago that he was studying the evidence assembled by Spataro before deciding whether a crime had been committed there. Bayer said then that if Abu Omar had "touched German soil" while changing planes at Ramstein, he would have prosecutorial jurisdiction over any crime that might have been committed by Abu Omar's abductors. Der Spiegel said on its Web site that it would report in Monday's editions that Bayer has convened a formal investigation and that criminal charges have been brought against "a person unknown."

This would be the second German investigation into a case of extraordinary rendition by the CIA:

Bayer is the second German prosecutor to have opened an investigation into the practice the CIA calls "extraordinary rendition," abducting suspected terrorists abroad and transporting them to countries such as Egypt and Syria for interrogation.

Martin Hoffman, the public prosecutor in Munich, has said previously that he is investigating the case of Khaled el-Masri, a Lebanese national and German citizen who was arrested in Macedonia in late 2003 and put aboard a plane that flew him to Afghanistan, where he was jailed for five months.

As has previously been reported, Sweden also was outraged that Ghost Air jets have touched down outside of Stockholm and conducted an investigation.

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    Interesting that foreign stories critical of the CIA (including a story originating in Italy), are appearing at a time when the CIA has helped to focus attention on the administration's suspicious WMD "intelligence" (including forgeries originating in Italy). I guess this could just be a complete coincidence, but you have to wonder.

    Re: Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany C (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    Cymro - Actually this story first came out about 6-8 months ago in a variety of media, including TalkLeft. Check the archives.

    Re: Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany C (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    I would want Italian govt. agents extradited here for trial if they were kidnapping people off of Main Street USA. The world is not our para-military playground. If we want our laws and sovereignty respected, we must respect others.

    Re: Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany C (none / 0) (#4)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    Usually, we do this type of thing with the cooperation of the local government. I wonder why we didnt get them in on it in this case?

    Re: Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany C (none / 0) (#5)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    @Roger: It is possible that the CIA acted with the cooperation of the Italian government. In that case the Italian government would also have broken Italian law. The Italian government has and is violating international law by supporting the war on Iraq.

    Re: Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany C (none / 0) (#6)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    Andreas, Usually, very possible, but co-conspirators dont usually expose the crime

    Re: Italy Seeks to Extradite CIA Agents, Germany C (none / 0) (#7)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    Different branches of the government are involved. Not everything is controlled by Berlusconi.