Portugal to extradite ex-CIA agent to Italian jail
Barry Hatton, AP, Feb 21 2017
Photo: Barbara L Salisbury/MCT
LISBON — A former CIA agent will be handed over to Italy in the coming days to serve a four-year prison sentence after being convicted of involvement in a Pindo program that kidnapped suspects for interrogation, a lawyer said Tuesday. Sabrina de Sousa spent the night in a women’s prison near Lisbon after a Portuguese court ordered police to extradite her, her Portuguese lawyer, Manuel Magalhaes e Silva, told AP in an interview. He said she was detained Monday after a two-year fight against extradition and would be put on a plane once formalities between Portuguese and Italian police were concluded. De Sousa, 61, was among 26 Pindosis convicted of kidnapping suspect Osama Mustafa Hassan Nas aka Abu Omar, from a Milan street on Feb 17 2003. She denied involvement in the abduction. The Pindo government expressed concern with De Sousa’s treatment. Acting State Dept spox Mark Toner said in a statement:
We are deeply disappointed in her conviction and sentence. This is a matter that Pindo boxtops have been following closely. We have asked our European counterparts what their next steps may be, but we are not in a position to detail those discussions
De Sousa lost several appeals against extradition since her arrest at Lisbon Airport in Oct 2015 on a European warrant. She had argued that she was never officially informed of the Italian court conviction and couldn’t use confidential Pindosi government information to defend herself. Once in Italy, De Sousa is expected to be taken to a women’s prison in Milan, but her Italian lawyer Dario Bolognesi said he would immediately appeal to the Milan court to defer her imprisonment pending a decision on her years-long request for clemency. Other Pindos convicted in the case have received clemency from the Italian president. Bolognesi met Tuesday with Justice Ministry boxtops who are reviewing the clemency request and emerged optimistic (smirking, full of the conviction of secret, illegal CIA power – RB). He said he would request that De Sousa be granted semi-freedom and serve any sentence doing social work. He disputed the written ruling by the Lisbon judges that said that the verdict in Italy that provided the grounds for the European arrest warrant was “not final.” He said the Italian case went all the way to the highest court and is final. Magalhaes e Silva, de Sousa’s Lisbon lawyer
and a human rights expert who said he took her case pro bono, said the European arrest warrant guaranteed de Sousa the possibility of a new trial or an appeal. Those assurances persuaded the Lisbon court to send her to Italy, he said. But last June the Italian authorities retracted that promise in a letter to the court, he said. He said:
It will be interesting to see what the Italian courts do when there’s an extradition based on a European arrest warrant in which Italy guaranteed to Portugal that it would respect certain rights, then like a pariah state it turns around and says no.
De Sousa, who was born in India and holds both Pindo and Portuguese passports, has said she had been living in Portugal and intended to settle there. She was on her way to visit her elderly mother in India with a roundtrip ticket when she was detained.