After years of legal battling and angst, Portuguese-American Sabrina de Sousa – held in Lisbon since 2015 after being ‘thrown under a bus’ by CIA paymasters – got the news she has been fighting for: a partial pardon “that will allow her to avoid jail time” in Italy, and defuse “a possible diplomatic standoff with the Trump administration”.
Only last week it became clear that “the highest levels of the Trump administration” were at last working on securing 61-year-old Sabrina’s freedom ahead of her extradition to Italy (click here).
It was the kind of news that the former intelligence officer condemned to four years in jail for her part in an extraordinary rendition in Milan in 2003 needed.
She told us late last year that acknowledgement by the new US presidency that she had been working on orders that went right up to the White House could be a gamechanger.
That acknowledgement came as she was being held in Porto en-route for Italy – and on Tuesday, as de Sousa was “preparing to fly to Milan” flanked by Italian police, Italian president Sergio Mattarella issued a partial pardon that now changes everything.
According to the Financial Times, de Sousa will be freed from serving any time in jail as Italy will now allow her to “seek alternative ways of carrying out her sentence”.
The partial pardon has cut de Sousa’s jail time by one year.
But what no news source has acknowledged is the part played in this drama by Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, a tireless supporter of de Sousa who actually wrote to the Italian president last week, urging him to use his powers to bring an end to what she called “injustice on injustice”.
True to form, Gomes has also urged Mattarella “to bring to trial the real culprits who are top officials of the CIA and Italian Secret Services”.