An ex-CIA agent convicted of kidnapping an imam will finally be extradited to Italy

Portugal will extradite to Italy within days a former CIA agent convicted over the 2003 abduction of a radical Egyptian imam, ending a long legal tussle, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

An ex-CIA agent convicted of kidnapping an imam will finally be extradited to Italy
Police outside the cathedral in Milan, the city where the abduction took place. Photo: AFP

Sabrina de Sousa, 60, was convicted in absentia by an Italian court in 2009 over the kidnapping of Abu Omar from a Milan street in an operation allegedly led jointly by the CIA and the Italian intelligence services.

The trial of de Sousa and 22 others secured what were the first legal convictions in the world against people involved in the CIA's extraordinary renditions programme that followed the September 11th, 2001 attacks.

De Sousa, who has dual Portuguese-US nationality, was arrested Monday and was due to be taken to a jail in the northern city of Porto, her lawyer Manuel Magalhaes Silva told AFP.

“Extradition will go ahead in the next few days,” he said.

Portuguese judicial authorities in January 2016 ordered that she be extradited to Italy, but a series of appeals delayed the procedure.

She was initially arrested at Lisbon airport in October 2015 under a European warrant after the Italian court convicted her, 21 fellow CIA operatives and a US soldier over the kidnapping.

Omar, who had been given political asylum in Italy in 2001, claimed he was tortured after being flown to Egypt via Germany in a case that highlighted the controversial secret renditions of suspected radicals by the United States and its allies.

In 2012, the Italian court of appeal confirmed its 2009 convictions, leaving de Sousa facing four years in jail.

De Sousa says she served as an interpreter for the CIA team that organized Omar's abduction but denies any direct role in the operation.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.