U.S. Will Protect Alleged Kidnappers
Posted on Feb 28, 2007
A State Department official said the U.S. will not extradite 26 suspected CIA agents to Italy, where they are accused of carrying out “extraordinary rendition.” Legal adviser John Bellinger added a veiled threat, saying further legal action in Europe would hamper “intelligence cooperation.”
A Milan judge earlier this month ordered 26 Americans, most of them thought to be CIA agents, to stand trial with Italian spies for kidnapping a Muslim cleric and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.
“We’ve not got an extradition request from Italy. ... If we got an extradition request from Italy, we would not extradite U.S. officials to Italy,” State Department legal adviser John Bellinger told a news briefing.
Bellinger, in Brussels for meetings with European legal advisers, did not comment on details of the case but said the United States would never hand over a suspect to another country without assurances about their treatment.