MILAN — A former CIA operative who is among 26 Americans convicted in absentia for the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Milan has requested a pardon from Italy, her Italian lawyer said Wednesday.
Sabrina De Sousa, who was arrested last week in Portugal on a European warrant, submitted the pardon request last year, lawyer Dario Bolognesi told The Associated Press. He said the process was held up when Italy changed presidents but he expects to meet with Judicial Ministry officials, who are also part of the pardon process, later this month.
De Sousa, who was working in Italy under diplomatic cover, faces a six-year sentence for her role in the 2003 kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, a terror suspect who was under surveillance by Italian law enforcement at the time.
Italy has granted only one pardon in the case, for the lone military member among the defendants. Another defendant, former CIA base chief Robert Seldon Lady, sent a letter to former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in 2013 seeking a pardon, saying he "never intended to disrespect Italy's sovereignty."
Lady, who received the stiffest sentence of nine years, was detained briefly in Panama two years ago on an international warrant.
The case, which also implicated Italy's secret services, has proven embarrassing to successive Italian governments, which have refused to issue extradition requests even after the Americans' convictions were finalized by Italy's highest court. The Justice Ministry issued an international warrant only in Lady's case, citing the length of the sentence.
De Sousa, who was born in India and holds both U.S. and Portuguese passports, told a court in Lisbon that she had been living in Portugal and intends to settle there. She was on her way to visit her elderly mother in India with a round-trip ticket when she was detained.
She was released from custody after surrendering her passports, while a Portuguese court decides whether to surrender her to Italy.