Friday, February 16, 2007

Accountability abroad

News from Italy: indictment of 26 "agents of the CIA, including Robert Seldon Lady, ex-head of the CIA in Milan, and Jeff Castelli, responsible for the American secret service in Italy," on charges of kidnapping Abu Omar, a Milano imam also known as Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, and taking him to Egypt, where he is reported to have endured torture and imprisonment. (Egypt released Nasr earlier this week.) Trial is set for April 8. Whether to seek extradition of the indictees remains a sticky business.
Taken just a day short of the 4th anniversary of Nasr's removal from a street in Milan, the decision of the udienza preliminare Caterina Interlandi marks the latest effort to bring to transnational account the post-9/11 practice of extraordinary rendition. On Wednesday Switzerland OK'd criminal investigation of the flight that took Nasr over its air space. Two weeks ago Munich prosecutors issued warrants to arrest 13 persons said to have rendered German citizen Khaled el-Masri to Afghanistan. And a European Parliament committee just renewed its call for a continental stance against renditions – a call so far stonewalled by some member states, some suspected of helping to make renditions happen.

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