‘Murky motives’ in Portuguese battle over CIA agent

An extradition battle concerning a low-level former CIA counter-terrorism officer is whipping up a diplomatic storm pulling in the US’s “extraordinary rendition” policy, European states’ complicity and even a Russian spy’s quest for Nato secrets.

Sabrina de Sousa was arrested in Portugal nine months ago over her role in the rendition of an al-Qaeda suspect, for which she has been sentenced to jail in Italy.

In 2003, a radical Egyptian cleric named Abu Omar was kidnapped on the streets of Milan in broad daylight by CIA officers, assisted by Italian intelligence. He was then flown to Egypt, where he says he was tortured for several years.

In 2009, Ms De Sousa was one of 23 American officials convicted in absentia by an Italian court for their role in the rendition, the US-Portuguese citizen being sentenced to four years.