A month before his seven-year term expires, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has pardoned Colonel Joseph L. Romano, who was convicted by Italian courts for his role in the abduction and torture of an Egyptian terrorist suspect, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in Milan in 2003.
The reason? An effort to “keep American-Italian relations strong, especially on security matters”.
Romano was one of 23 Americans to be convicted and sentenced for kidnapping. He and 21 others received a seven-year jail term while former CIA Milan station chief Robert Seldon Lady was sentenced to nine years.
Not that makes any difference. It’s unlikely that the Italian government will ask for them to be extradited so they can serve the terms.
Despite being condemned by human rights groups as a violation of international law, the lack of justice for the war criminals who authorised and committed these extraordinary renditions, amounts to nothing less than the legalisation of torture.
According to the AP propaganda network:
Napolitano’s office said the head of state granted the pardon “in hopes of giving a solution to a situation to an affair considered by the United States to be without precedent because of the aspect of convicting a U.S. military officer of NATO for deeds committed on Italian soil.”
Three other Americans had been acquitted in a first trial because of diplomatic immunity, but earlier this year, a Milan appeals court convicted the three, who included a former CIA station chief.
Romano’s defense said he was never formally notified of the charges. That top court decision paved the way for extradition requests by Italian authorities, but so far none have come from Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government, which is staying on in a caretaker role following elections earlier this year.