ANA and Sabrina.jpg

Trump intelligence advisor joins outrage over former CIA officer’s extradition from Portugal

As time appears to be running out for Portuguese-American Sabrina Sousa – the former CIA intelligence officer arrested in Lisbon last year on a European Arrest Warrant – one of Donald J Trump’s intelligence advisors has delivered some timely comments on her case that might at long last make a difference.

Former congressman Pete Hoekstra has told reporters:
“Portugal will soon extradite former CIA officer Sabrina de Sousa to Italy for incarceration. Her crime? She executed the orders of her CIA superiors, who were acting under the direction of the administration with oversight from Congress.”

It is the exact interpretation that de Sousa has been giving anyone prepared to listen since an Italian court ruled that she and 22 others should be jailed for their roles in the rendition of a radical Egyptian cleric in 2003 (click here).

Italy announced the sentences in the absence of any defendants in the dock, and no one has gone on to serve jail time as they all live in the United States. All except Sabrina de Sousa, that is, who as a dual national with family in Europe was damned if she would spend the rest of her life in hiding.

“You expect to be protected, that the organization you work for tries everything to help you,” she told the Washington Post in 2012. “Officially, I was a diplomat, that’s all I can say. But when diplomats or troops take risks, you expect your own government to help.”

Almost five years on, she has discovered that not only do governments fail to help, all apparent judicial options fall by the wayside too.

She told us last year that her lawyers have found fighting the case “incredibly difficult” as they have been beset by challenges “every step of the way” (click here).

All appeals have fallen flat – the latest, to the European Court of Human Rights, pronouncing only yesterday (January 3).

The only ‘hopeful’ sign from the ECHR is that it said it would be ‘accompanying the case’ – but as things stand now Lisbon’s Court of Appeal has notified de Sousa that it will be making contact with the Public Ministry so that extradition proceedings “can be executed”.

What this means, writes Expresso, is that Interpol in Italy will be asked to “fix a date for Portuguese authorities to accompany 60-year-old de Sousa on a flight to Rome, to be handed over”.

Expresso’s last word in its latest text suggests all might not be lost, however.

“The defendant has never been included in the successive presidential pardons that other former colleagues have benefitted from”, the paper concludes – begging the question ‘could Pete Hoekstra’s comments mean that one of president-elect Donald J Trump’s incoming tasks as he steps into the world’s ‘top job’ will be to set this dismal story straight?

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PHOTO: Tweeted by Euro MP Ana Gomes who has dubbed de Sousa’s case as being prevented a fair trial.