In February, 2003, senior U.S. officials authorized the rendition of a Muslim cleric, Abu Omar from Milan, Italy to Egypt. An Egyptian court released Abu Omar for lack of prosecutable evidence with which to convict him. Abu Omar described his torture at the hands of Egyptian officials during his incarceration.
Italy demanded “accountability” and convicted “26” Americans in absentia. Several senior Italian Intelligence officers were also convicted. I was one of five US diplomats convicted in absentia, by Italian courts.
To date, the USG has never acknowledged that the #milanrendition even took place. My Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to extract information about the rendition, has resulted in many fully redacted documents and GLOMAR assertions. Nevertheless, they provide valuable insight into the level of interest and coordination among the most senior officials in the US government.
On his release from the Egyptian prison, Abu Omar was indicted in Italy on charges related to terrorism. In 2013, he was convicted by an Italian court – in absentia.
Abu Omar filed a case against Italy in the European Court of Human Rights. A verdict is expected soon.
As of today, the President of Italy has pardoned two US officers. All senior Italian officials convicted were granted immunity, by the assertion of Italian State secrets. Two others Italian government officials who admitted to direct participation or knowledge in the rendition, were also granted immunity.
For 11 years I ‘ve tried unsuccessfully to defend myself against the charges that led to a 4 year sentence and a Europe wide arrest warrant. Numerous obstacles and US State Secrets impede my progress.
In all of this, my biggest fear and concern is for the possibility that I may not see my 89 year old mother. The arrest warrant prevents me from visiting her.
From courts in Milan, to Washington D.C to Portugal’s Supreme Court, my rather handicapped legal fight against an establishment determined to protect those who – according to a senior CIA officer – “made mistakes” continues.
The saga continues…
Sabrina de Sousa’s memoirs in her own words.