The former Italian Intelligence Chief Nicolo Pollari has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for his role in the ‘extraordinary rendition’ of an Egyptian cleric by the CIA.
The court in Milan sentenced Pollari, and also handed down a nine year prison sentence to his former deputy Marco Mancini. Italian courts had already convicted 22 CIA agents in absentia over the same case. Three other Italian agents were given six year prison sentences in Tuesday’s verdict.
Pollari, Macini, and the other agents are all likely to appeal against their convictions. Defense lawyer Nicola Madia, who represented both men, has said that his clients did not get a fair trial because state secrecy laws prevented him from mounting a proper defense. Pollari claimed in his trial that he did not know about the kidnapping, but that documents proving that he was not involved could not be produced in court because they were classified as state secrets.
The trials were based on the case of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who was ‘kidnapped’ from the streets of Milan, flown to two US bases in Europe, and then sent to Egypt where he claims to have been tortured over a period of seven months.
An initial trial – the first in the world to bring cases involving extraordinary rendition by the CIA – convicted 22 CIA agents and a US air force colonel, but acquitted Pollari. The CIA’a station chief in Milan Robert Lady was sentenced to 8 years, whilst the other Americans were given five year sentences. All of those sentenced in the first trial were back in America at the time and are highly unlikely to serve their sentences.