Convicted CIA kidnapper wants U.S. shield

May 27, 2011 at 8:52 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 27 (UPI) -- A woman convicted in Italy of a 2003 CIA kidnapping is suing the U.S. government for diplomatic protection.

Sabrina De Sousa, appeared Thursday in federal court in Washington to press her claim that her bosses abandoned her, the Los Angeles Times reports.

De Sousa, officially listed as a State Department diplomat, was convicted in absentia in Italy and sentenced to seven years in prison for the CIA kidnapping of Muslim cleric Abu Omar from the streets of Milan. He was "rendered" to Egypt, where he says he was tortured before being eventually freed.

An Italian court convicted 23 Americans of kidnapping and related offenses.

De Sousa says she now risks arrest if she ever travels to Europe, where her sister lives. Her lawsuit aims to make the government give her diplomatic immunity while she appeals the case in Italy.

Outside court, she said Abu Omar's "extraordinary rendition" was needless because he did not pose a sufficient threat and was already being investigated by the Italians.

De Sousa said she played no direct role in the kidnapping but did not deny reports that she helped plan it.

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