“Rendition was totally counterproductive”
Sabrina de Sousa, HARDtalk – BBC World News
Sabrina De Sousa, a former CIA officer, has lost another appeal in her ongoing fight to avoid being sent from Portugal to Italy, where she has to serve a prison sentence for her alleged part in a U.S. program that involved kidnapping terror suspects for interrogation.
The Portuguese Supreme Court has rejected Sabrina de Sousa’s latest extradition appeal.
Sabrina de Sousa told The Associated Press on Friday she may file an appeal in Portugal’s Constitutional Court.
De Sousa said in emailed comments to the AP that an appeal is “possible” but she is “not sure” she will go ahead with it. She said she needs to undergo surgery but did not elaborate.
Sabrina De Sousa (born c. 1956, Bombay, India) is a Portuguese-American convicted in 2009 (in absentia) of kidnapping in Italy for her role in the 2003 abduction of the Muslim imam Abu Omar.
Abu Omar, a Muslim cleric, was abducted on February 17, 2003, in Milan by the CIA. and transported to the Aviano Air Base, from which he was transferred to Egypt, where he was interrogated.
De Sousa is not alleged to have kidnapped Omar herself, but is said to have “helped make false documents to mislead investigators”.
A European Arrest Warrant valid throughout Europe was issued in 2006 by Italian authorities for her arrest. (They named her publicly in July 2008.)
In 2012, Italy’s supreme court of cassation upheld the sentences handed down after the trial in absentia of de Sousa, 22 other CIA operatives and a US soldier. They were given jail terms ranging from seven to nine years. De Sousa’s sentence was later reduced to four years.
De Sousa was arrested in Portugal under that arrest warrant in 2015. She was briefly detained at the Lisbon airport in Portugal on October 5 2015. Her passport was confiscated.
In January 2016, she was ordered extradited to Italy. On April 11, 2016, the Portuguese Supreme Court upheld De Sousa’s extradition.
On 8 June 2016, the Portuguese Constitutional Court upheld the Supreme Court’s decision.
Sabrina de Sousa was due to be extradited to Italy to serve her sentence before June 18. (Indeed, the law allows for at most 10 days.)
Legal twist. As of August 1st 2016, she has not been extradited. The process seemed to have come unstuck.
According to the Portuguese “Expresso” newspaper, the Italian justice ministry recently wrote to Lisbon saying there would be no new trial or appeal.
“If Italy now says that is not possible the Portuguese judges will have to take that into consideration,” De Sousa said.
Indeed, if the previous guarantees given by the Italian judiciary were effectively bogus, the Portuguese judges could overrule the decision made at the beginning of the year to extradite De Sousa since such re-trial/appeal was a condition of their decision.
However, last week (18 November 2016), the Portuguese Supreme Court rejected Sabrina de Sousa’s latest extradition appeal. She may file an appeal in Portugal’s Constitutional Court.
There is a documentary online about this affair: “The Italian Job”. [Vice News]
Ex-CIA Agent Loses Latest Italy Extradition Appeal — NYT 18 Nov 2016