Italian judge denies immunity claim of CIA agent accused in kidnapping plot

[JURIST] An Italian judge ruled Tuesday that a former CIA station chief in Milan is not protected by diplomatic immunity, upholding an arrest warrant issued for his alleged participation in the kidnapping of Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile]. The judge held that even though former agent and US diplomatic consul Robert Seldon Lady relinquished all immunity when he left his post in August 2004, the protection given to consular officials is "always within the limits of international law." Furthermore, "within these limits, naturally, is the principle of the sovereignty of the host state that cannot allow on its territory the use of force by a foreign state that outside every control of the political and judicial authorities." Earlier this month Italian prosecutors requested the extradition of 22 former CIA agents [JURIST report], including Lady, who is currently in the US. Italian prosecutors claim that the agents abducted Nasr, an alleged terrorist, in Milan on Feburary 17 2003 and flew him to Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured. Though Lady's lawyer claims the evidence against him is weak, and the Italian justice Minister has cast doubts on the impartiality of the investigation [JURIST report], prosecutors say they can prove through cell phone and computer records that Lady played a central role in the abduction. The Guardian has more.

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