The AFP reports, via Yahoo! News:
An Italian court on Wednesday upped the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia of abducting an Egyptian imam in one of the biggest cases against the US “extraordinary rendition” program.
The 23 CIA agents, originally sentenced in November 2009 to five to eight years in prison, had their sentences increased to seven to nine years on appeal in what one of the defence lawyers described as a “shocking blow” for the US.
They were also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros (2.0 million dollars) in damages to the imam and his wife for the 2003 abduction.
Washington has refused to extradite the agents, who all remain at liberty but now risk arrest if they travel to Europe.
Osama Mustafa Hassan, a radical Islamist opposition figure better known as Abu Omar, was snatched from a street in Milan in 2003 in an operation coordinated by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI.
Abu Omar, who enjoyed political asylum in Italy, was then allegedly taken to the Aviano US air base in northeastern Italy, then flown to a US base in Germany, and on to Cairo, where he says he was tortured.
Among the defendants sentenced on Wednesday was Bob Seldon Lady, former head of the CIA station in Milan, whose sentence was increased to nine years from eight. The other 22 agents had their sentences upped from five to seven years.
Guido Meroni, a defence lawyer for six of the 23 agents, said he believed the sentences had been increased because the court had rejected the mitigating circumstances that had led to the original judgement.
“The judges had originally ruled they had just been following orders, but it seems the court of appeals didn’t agree,” he told AFP.
Just following orders… That sounds familiar. Read more here.