Portugal Court: Turn Over Ex-CIA Agent to Italy

Agent Was Involved in 2003 Kidnapping of Milan Cleric

Italy might finally be about to get ahold of one of the former CIA operatives convicted in absentia over their role in the US extraordinary rendition program, as a Portugal court has ruled that Sabrina De Sousa should be turned over to the Italian government to serve her six-year sentence.

De Sousa was a CIA operative posing as a US diplomat in Italy during the 2003 kidnapping scheme, but insists she was not involved. She publicly accused the US of conspiring with Italian leaders to prosecute innocent agents in return for protecting the higher-ups who approved the rendition in the first place.

On February 17, 2003, CIA agents kidnapped Milan cleric Abu Omar and snuck him out of Italy. He was subsequently sent to Egypt, where he was tortured in custody for years. In 2007, the Egyptian government ordered him released, saying his detention was totally unfounded.

The incident of kidnapping an imam in broad daylight off the streets of a major European city is considered one of the seminal examples of the US extraordinary rendition program. In 2009 Italy convicted 22 CIA agents in absentia over the kidnapping.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.