Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, IV Section, 23 February 2016, Nasr and Ghali v. Italy (Application No. 448883/09)


The European Court of Human Rights decided on the case introduced by Abu Omar, an Egyptian suspected terrorist who was victim, in Italy, of an extraordinary rendition operation carried out by CIA agents with the complicity of members of the Italian intelligence service. After conviction in absentia of the US accused persons, and the dismissal of the proceeding against the Italian agents by reason of the ‘state secrecy’ invoked by the government, the European Court ruled that Italy infringed Article 3 of the ECHR, by failing to prevent the torture inflicted to Abu Omar during his arbitrary detention in Egypt. Moreover, Italy failed to impose an effective and adequate sanction upon those responsible. The Court did recognize the invaluable action of the judiciary, which was however frustrated by the conduct of the government (imposing state secrecy and not requesting extradition of the CIA agents involved) and by the granting of pardon to some of the convicted persons. This implied, also, a violation of Article 13 of the ECHR (right to an effective remedy). Moreover, Italy had infringed Article 5 of the ECHR (right to personal freedom and security) and Article 8 of the ECHR, because the disappearances and arbitrary detention of ABU Omar breached his right and the right of his wife to have their private and family life respected. Since Italy did not introduce an appeal, the decision of the IV Section of the ECHR is a final one.