Italy grants partial clemency to ex-CIA agent in abduction

Cheryl Sanders
March 1, 2017

President Sergio Mattarella partially pardoned an ex-CIA agent convicted for her role in kidnapping Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nas in 2003 from Milan, the president's office said late Tuesday.

Sabrina De Sousa, a 61-year-old American citizen, was arrested in Portugal and was to have been handed over to Italy to serve a four-year prison sentence on Wednesday.

The palace noted that because her sentence was reduced to three years, she no longer has to go to prison but can serve out the remainder of her sentence in alternative service.

De Sousa denied involvement. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

Italian military intelligence officers also were convicted in the abduction, but the nation's top criminal court ultimately threw out those convictions, ruling that the cases against them couldn't be prosecuted due to state secrecy. All the Americans were tried in absentia. It did not clarify, however, if de Sousa was still to travel to Italy. Mr Nasr, who was on a USA list of militant suspects, said he was tortured under interrogation after being transferred to Egypt. However, he was later convicted in absentia of "criminal association for the purposes of worldwide terrorism" by a court in Milan in 2013.

In an interview with the BBC's HARDtalk programme in August 2016 de Sousa described rendition programmes as "totally counterproductive".

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy over the abduction, ordering it to pay €115,000 (£98,247; $121,600) in damages and expenses to Nasr and his wife Nabila Ghali.

Other reports by iNewsToday