The bizarre case of former CIA intelligence officer Sabrina de Sousa took a new twist on Friday, threatening the 60-year-old who says she has done nothing wrong with a four-year stint in an Italian jail.
The worst of the news was that it appeared in the national press before the dual Portuguese-American national had been informed of it. Her appeal against extradition to serve a sentence handed out in her absence – and without any recourse to a defence – over a decade ago had failed.
Asked as she digested the blow what she could do now, she told the Resident: “Nothing, unfortunately”.
But since then, national and international reports suggest she may consider filing an appeal in Portugal’s Constitutional Court.
Earlier this year, de Sousa told us she has found her battle to dodge extradition very difficult as her lawyers have been faced with legal challenges “every step of the way”.
As previous stories here and in the US have explained, the case centres on a massive cover-up, perpetrated by the US establishment (click here).
Not only were de Sousa and 22 others – including an Air Force colonel – ‘acting under orders’ when they snatched a radical Egyptian cleric off the streets of Milan to flying him to Egypt for interrogation, the victim of this so-called rendition has since attested to the group’s innocence.
Talking to the Guardian newspaper in April last year, Abu Omar said: “Sabrina and the others are scapegoats. The US administration sacrificed them. All of those higher up in the hierarchy are enjoying their immunity… they should be convicted in this case. They should face trial”.
The fact that Sabrina de Sousa is in this situation over 10 years on is because of all those convicted ‘in absentia’ she is possibly the only one with a reason to travel to Europe, where Italian authorities have issued international arrest warrants in all of their names.
De Sousa has family ties to Portugal and has always said she refuses to give these up.
“I didn’t want to sneak into the country”, she said after her arrest in Lisbon in 2015. “I have nothing to hide. This thing needs to be resolved”.
For now, de Sousa remains ‘free’ in Lisbon, although she surrendered her passport over a year ago.
Associated Press reports she is awaiting surgery – though reporter Barry Hatton has not been more specific – and the former intelligence officer tells us she is watching the appointments being made by president-elect Donald Trump very closely, in the hope that something at the 11th hour may secure her freedom.
Photo: Courtesy of Vice News which has run this clip on Sabrina’s case on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwgx0DwhPiY