Ex-CIA agent de Souza to be extradited to Milan

For involvement in Abu Omar kidnapping.

Sabrina de Souza, a former undercover agent of the CIA, is to be extradited to Milan, her lawyer says.

De Sousa, 61, was convicted in November 2009 of involvement in the kidnapping by CIA agents on a Milan street of imam Abu Omar, who was subsequently renditioned to Egypt, where he states he was tortured.

She is not accused of personal involvement in the kidnapping, but of helping in the fabrication of false documents to be used during the covert action. Along with 26 other Americans, she was tried in absentia and sentenced to four years in jail.

De Sousa was the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Milan magistrates in 2006. She was detained at Lisbon airport in 2015, and ordered to be extradited to Italy in 2006, but lodged several appeals. She will be the first CIA officer to be handed over to Italian authorities.

A Portuguese-American, holding also Indian citizenship, de Sousa was at the time of the kidnapping an employee of the US embassy in Rome but stationed in Milan, where she worked undercover for the CIA. She stated that on the day of the abduction, of which she had been unaware, she was on a skiing holiday 130 miles away at Madonna di Campiglio.

After being accused by Italian investigators of involvement in the plot, she appealed to the US State Department to provide her with diplomatic immunity, but this request was rejected by the American courts, partly because such immunity is granted not by the employer but by the diplomat’s host country.

None of the other American defendants in the 2009 trial has returned to Italy, while three of the Italian agents have since been pardoned.

Abu Omar, himself convicted in absentia in 2013 for terrorist offences, stated in a 2016 interview with the UK daily The Guardian that he had never met de Sousa. He defended her, stating she was being made a scapegoat for the infamous extraordinary rendition programme.