News / Europe

Italy Pardons US Pilot Convicted in CIA Rendition Case

Quirinale palace, the official residence of Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano, who pardoned U.S. Colonel Joseph L. Romano on April 5, is pictured in Rome, April 2, 2013.Quirinale palace, the official residence of Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano, who pardoned U.S. Colonel Joseph L. Romano on April 5, is pictured in Rome, April 2, 2013.
x
Quirinale palace, the official residence of Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano, who pardoned U.S. Colonel Joseph L. Romano on April 5, is pictured in Rome, April 2, 2013.
Quirinale palace, the official residence of Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano, who pardoned U.S. Colonel Joseph L. Romano on April 5, is pictured in Rome, April 2, 2013.
Reuters
Italy's president on Friday pardoned a U.S. Air Force officer convicted of kidnapping an Egyptian Muslim cleric who was taken away for interrogation on a CIA "rendition" flight.

Such covert flights were among the tactics used to wage the "War on Terror" under the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, after the 9/11 attacks. They have been condemned by human rights groups as a violation of international agreements.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said he had pardoned Colonel Joseph L. Romano, who was the only person not a member of the CIA among 23 Americans sentenced for the kidnapping of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in Milan in 2003.

Romano's lawyer had requested the pardon. The clemency was granted because the United States and Italy are close allies that "share the common goals of promoting democracy and security" around the world, a statement from the president said.

The Egyptian cleric, also known as Abu Omar, was secretly flown to Egypt for interrogation, where he says he was tortured for seven months. He was a resident in Italy at the time of the abduction.

Italy was the first country to convict American nationals for their involvement in a rendition.

Romano and 21 others received seven-year jail terms for kidnapping, while the former CIA Milan station chief Robert Seldon Lady was sentenced to nine years in jail.

All were tried in absentia and the Italian government has so far shown little indication it will ask for them to be extradited to serve the terms. No reason was given for why Romano was awarded clemency while the 22 CIA members were not.

U.S. President Barack Obama has tried to distance himself from heavy-handed intelligence tactics employed by the Bush administration, and ordered the CIA to close its long-term prisons in 2009.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid