Italy sinks CIA rendition case

2009-03-12 08:02

Rome - Italy's highest court on Wednesday dealt a potentially fatal blow to the trial against 26 Americans accused of involvement in the alleged CIA kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect in Milan in 2003.

The Constitutional Court sided with the Italian government in saying that prosecutors used classified information to build the case and threw out some key evidence on which the indictments were based.

Though the judges did not formally throw out the indictments, lawyers said the ruling would at least set the case back.

State lawyer Massimo Giannuzzi said prosecutors would have to seek new indictments based on the remaining evidence or reopen the investigation altogether.

"We are quite satisfied," Giannuzzi said. "There will have to be a new preliminary hearing to decide if the remaining evidence is enough for new charges."

Victim tortured

The American suspects - all but one identified by prosecutors as CIA agents - were accused along with seven Italian agents of kidnapping an Egyptian terror suspect from a Milan street on February 17 2003, in an "extraordinary rendition" operation coordinated by the CIA and Italy's SISMI military intelligence.

Prosecutors say Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was then transferred to US bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he was imprisoned for four years. Nasr, who has been released, said he was tortured.

The Italian government denies any role in the operation, while the CIA has declined to comment on the case.

The trial in Milan was suspended pending the Constitutional Court's ruling, which had been delayed several times.

When the trial resumes, Judge Oscar Magi must turn over evidence deemed classified, notably files of thousands of dossiers on prominent public figures seized from the Rome apartment of a SISMI agent, Pio Pompa.

Also thrown out is testimony by Luciano Peroni, an intelligence officer allegedly at the scene of the kidnapping.

Wednesday's ruling was "a victory for the state attorney," said Alessia Sorgato, a lawyer defending several of the Americans, noting that Peroni's testimony had been "fundamental" to the prosecution's case.

However, most of the stricken evidence pertained to the Italian defendants, and Sorgato said it was still possible that the case against the Americans could continue.

- SAPA

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

Land reform process lawful - Zuma

The land reform process is being done according to the law and the Constitution, says President Jacob Zuma.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
The EFF's ad was banned, see why
Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get 50% off selected books!

Buy 2 books and get 50% off the second book. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.