Verdict

Italy Convicts 23 Americans for CIA Kidnap

An Italian judge convicted 23 Americans on kidnapping charges on Wednesday for their roles in the CIA's extraordinary rendition of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian cleric. The stiffest sentence was handed to the Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady—eight years in prison. The other 22 were sentenced to five years in jail, while three Americans—including then-Rome CIA chief Jeffrey Castelli and two Rome embassy diplomats—and several Italians were acquitted. The U.S. State Department was "disappointed about the verdicts," while civil rights groups like the ACLU celebrated the powerful symbolic indictment of Bush-era counterterror tactics. One of the convicted Americans, Sabrina DeSousa, will admit tonight on ABC News that "we broke the law." (DeSousa is in the midst of a legal battle against the State Department, which she says unfairly denied her diplomatic immuity.) All of the Americans were tried in absentia. As long as they avoid travel to Europe, they will likely be able to avoid their sentences, since Italy is unlikely to use any, ahem, extraordinary methods to force the convicted Americans back onto Italian soil for their prison terms.