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Indian-origin Ex-CIA Agent Loses Fight Against Extradition

De Sousa said she is waiting to be told when she will be taken to Italy, where she will serve a four-year sentence.

Published
World
2 min read
Representational image. (Photo: iStockphoto)

A former CIA agent is set to be extradited to Italy to serve a prison sentence for her part in the US extraordinary renditions program after Portugal’s Constitutional Court rejected her final appeal.

Sabrina de Sousa told The Associated Press she is waiting to be told when she will be taken to Italy, where she was convicted in absentia and has a four-year sentence to serve.

Since her October arrest in Lisbon on a European arrest warrant, De Sousa has lost her extradition fight at a lower Lisbon court and her appeal of that decision to the Portuguese Supreme Court.

File photo of former CIA official Sabrina De Sousa. (Photo: <a href="https://twitter.com/Sadiso">Twitter</a>)
File photo of former CIA official Sabrina De Sousa. (Photo: Twitter)

De Sousa was among 26 Americans convicted for the kidnapping of terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street on 17 Feb 2003. She insists she wasn’t involved in the abduction.

The Constitutional Court said, in a ruling posted on its website late Tuesday, that De Sousa’s appeal was rejected.

Under Portuguese legal procedure, the Constitutional Court now sends its decision back to the lower court. That court then informs the police, who set in motion the extradition process in conjunction with Italian authorities.

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De Sousa said in an email to The Associated Press that she had “no idea” when she might be sent to Italy.

Her Italian lawyer has previously said he is hopeful of obtaining clemency from Italy’s head of state in the case, which has also implicated Italy’s secret services and proven embarrassing to successive Italian governments. President Sergio Mattarella has granted clemency to other defendants convicted in the case.

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De Sousa said she sent a letter to Pope Francis, through the Vatican’s embassy in Lisbon on Wednesday, urging him to speak out against the extraordinary renditions used by the CIA after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The pontiff has already condemned the practice, in a 2014 speech.

De Sousa, who has both US and Portuguese citizenship and was working in Italy under diplomatic cover, argues that she was never officially informed of the Italian court conviction and couldn’t use confidential US government information to defend herself.

I was never notified nor was I allowed to defend myself because of secrecy obligations. The absence of due process and the imposition of various versions of state secrets are obstacles that prevent the many unanswered questions about the premise and justification for Abu Omar’s rendition.
De Sousa in her letter to the Pope

The rendition program, under which terror suspects were kidnapped and transferred to centres where they were interrogated and tortured, was part of the anti-terrorism strategy of the US administration following the 9/11 attacks. President Barack Obama ended the program years later.

Read More: Indian-American CIA Agent Tried for Clandestine Operation in Italy

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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