US, EU rift: Trump White House to rescue Indian-origin Central Intelligence Agency agent
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 24, 2017,
Feb 24, 2017, 13:07
Sabrina De Sousa, 61, was among 26 Americans convicted of kidnapping suspect cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nas, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street on February 17, 2003.
"We are deeply disappointed in her conviction and sentence", Toner said.
-Portuguese citizen and denies involvement in the abduction, was detained by Portuguese police on Monday and is awaiting extradition in a prison in Porto.
She would be the first Central Intelligence Agency officer and USA diplomat over the controversial Bush-era rendition program, Fox News noted. Once she is incarcerated, Bolognesi said he would make a formal request for her to be granted semi-freedom and serve her sentence doing social work. Several of her appeals to Portuguese authorities against the extradition failed previous year.
Sabrina de Sousa spent the night in a women's prison near Lisbon after a Portuguese court ordered police to extradite her, her Portuguese lawyer, Manuel Magalhaes e Silva, told the Associated Press in an interview. The practice, a counter-terrorism response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, involved capturing terrorism suspects and handing them to other countries for interrogation and imprisonment. Omar - who turned out to be a "nobody", according to De Sousa - was held at an American military base in Germany before being flown to Cairo, Egypt, where he says he was tortured.
"This is a matter that US officials have been following closely", the official said.
He added: "The Italian court sentenced her on the basis of a 17-seconds-long telephone call she received by another agent who was later involved in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar, and on the assumption that, as she held a senior position in Italy at the time, she couldn't not know what was going on".
The warrant, the judges note, recognizes that she has the right to a new trial or can file an appeal because she was judged in absentia and was not officially notified of the trial date or the sentence.
Bolognesi said he would ask a Milan appeals court to defer de Sousa's sentence, in the hope she would get a pardon like the ones Italy's president extended a year ago to two other officials convicted in the case.
Bolognesi said he would request that De Sousa be pardoned by Italyand hoped she would be spared jail while waiting for the response.
De Sousa described herself as a "scapegoat" for a program authorized by officials at the highest levels of US government.
In 2009, De Sousa, along with 25 other Americans, was convicted in absentia on kidnapping and other charges related to the abduction.
He said it was not clear whether she would serve time in jail, but her Italian lawyer Dario Bolognesi said she was likely go to prison for a time when she arrives, probably around the middle of next week, in the northern city of Milan.
Silva, De Sousa's Portuguese lawyer, told NBC News that her lawyer in Italy had already reached out to the Italian president to ask for an official pardon.
In October 2015, she was detained at Lisbon's airport on a European arrest warrant while attempting to travel to India. Her passports were confiscated, but she was quickly released.