Italy demands trial of US soldier

Soldier indicted for the killing of an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq last year.

    Nicola Calipari was shot in the head as he tried
    to protect a freed Italian hostage [EPA]
    Lozano, a soldier in the US army's 69th infantry regiment, will almost certainly be tried in absentia as he has already been exonerated by the US.

    The defence had tried to have the case dismissed, arguing that Lozano had merely been following orders.

    Fabrizio Cardinali, Lozano's court-appointed lawyer, said: "I wasn't expecting this, because I think there were grounds for a dismissal because of the fact that he was following orders."

    Calipari was shot in the head as he tried to protect Sgrena.

    'Truth and justice'

    The intelligence agent's widow, Rosa, said: "This looks to me like the first step on a long road toward truth and justice, and I hope justice will come in the end."

    The charges of attempted murder relate to Sgrena, a reporter with the Il Manifesto newspaper, and Andrea Carpani, a police officer, who were both injured in the shooting.
    "It's not only a symbolic trial but also a trial which is important for me because I think we can find out the truth"

    Giuliana Sgrena, Italian journalist who was injured
    in the shooting

    "I am very satisfied for the trial ... it is important because Italy showed its sovereignty in the face of the impunity of American soldiers," Sgrena told Al Jazeera.

    "It's not only a symbolic trial but also a trial which is important for me because I think we can find out the truth."

    The Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi, then prime minister, set up a joint committee of inquiry with the US to establish the circumstances of Calipari's death, but the two sides could not agree on who was responsible.

    The Americans have claimed that their soldiers had acted in the prescribed manner, that Calipari's car was travelling too fast and had not slowed down, and that the Italians had not told them of the operation to free Sgrena.
    Italy argued that Calipari's death was the result of a mistake on the part of the US military responsible for the surveillance of the airport road and that the checkpoint was manned by tense and inexperienced troops.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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