Italian prosecuter to push ahead with prosecution of CIA agents “in absentia”

Italy prosecutor, boss clash over CIA case

By John Crewdson in the Chigaco Tribune

NEW YORK – The chief anti-terrorism prosecutor for northern Italy says he intends to prosecute 22 past and present CIA operatives on kidnapping charges “in absentia,” an unusual though not unprecedented criminal proceeding that would likely lay bare some of the intelligence agency’s most sensitive inner workings.

In an interview while attending an anti-terrorism conference here last week, the prosecutor, Armando Spataro, vowed to push ahead with the trial even if, as seems increasingly likely, none of the defendants will ever be extradited.

Spataro has asked the Italian justice minister, Roberto Castelli, to formally request that the Bush administration extradite the 22 CIA defendants to Milan to stand trial. Spataro dismissed charges by Castelli on Tuesday that the actions were politically motivated.