View Full Version : Italy Plans to Charge GI in Iraq Death

01-18-2006, 03:02 PM
Italy Plans to Charge GI in Iraq Death
AP (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/3593371.html)

Italian prosecutors investigating the killing of an Italian secret service agent at a checkpoint in Iraq plan to charge a U.S. soldier with murder and attempted murder, Italian media reported Tuesday.

U.S. gunfire killed Nicola Calipari near the checkpoint on March 4, as the agent was heading to Baghdad airport in a car with an Italian journalist who had just been released after being held hostage by militants.

The ANSA and Apcom news agencies reported Tuesday that prosecutors planned to charge the soldier with murdering Calipari and attempting to murder the agent driving the car as well as the journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, who were both wounded during the incident. State TV news Tg1, and private SKY TG 24 television news also carried the report.

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Franco Ionta, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. A U.S. embassy official in Rome said she was unaware of the development.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Barry Venable, said the Pentagon had not seen any charges actually filed and declined to comment.

A U.S. Justice Department official in Washington said Italian prosecutors had not told their American counterparts that they intend to bring charges against a U.S. soldier. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because prosecutors in Rome have not talked publicly about their plans.

An Italian government report in May blamed U.S. military authorities for failing to signal there was a military checkpoint ahead on the road. It also contended that stress, inexperience and fatigue played a role in the shooting.

The Americans insisted that the car was going fast enough to alarm the soldiers. The Italians have said the vehicle was traveling slowly.

Police and ballistic experts assigned by Rome prosecutors to examine the car have concluded it was traveling slower than the U.S. military claimed. They agreed with U.S. findings that only one soldier fired at the car.

The shooting angered Italians, already largely opposed to the war in Iraq, and led many to step up calls for withdrawing the Italian contingent. Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who sent some 3,000 troops to Iraq after Saddam Hussein's ouster, insisted the incident would not affect troop levels or Italy's friendship with Washington.