Italy May Try Absent Yank In Iraq Shooting




 
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November 29th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Italy May Try Absent Yank In Iraq Shooting


New York Daily News
November 29, 2006
By Adam Nichols, Daily News Staff Writer
A Fighting 69th soldier from the Bronx who gunned down an Italian agent and a freed hostage at a Baghdad roadblock could hear today if he’ll be tried in absentia on a homicide charge.
A Rome judge today will consider if there is enough evidence to put Mario Lozano on trial — though in absentia and represented by a state-appointed attorney— for charges that include voluntary homicide, which carries a 24-year prison sentence.
Lozano will almost certainly fail to appear at any Rome trial in the case, which has left U.S.—Italian relations strained. The effort to bring him to trial for a shooting both countries agreed was accidental has left colleagues in the New York National Guard’s 69th Regiment furious.
“Here we go again,” said New York National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Fanning yesterday.
“As far as we are concerned, the investigation into this concluded more than a year ago, and it should be left at that.”
The turret gunner has already been exonerated by American investigators for his actions in March last year. His shots killed Italian agent Nicola Calipari and wounded Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist who had just fled Islamic militant kidnappers.
“It is politically motivated, and I think it’s garbage,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Brown, a former NYPD cop who was with Lozano at the roadblock.
“What was he faced with? Shoot, or don’t shoot and let everybody with him die. He did his job.“
Lozano’s squad, which had suffered heavy losses in the four months since arriving in Iraq, had been guarding a lethal stretch of road called “IED Alley” for the “improvised explosive devices” that littered it.
Troops reported the car carrying Calipari and Sgrena sped toward them at more than 50 mph. It failed to slow despite repeated warnings.
Though Italy agreed with the Pentagon that the killing was an accident, investigators in Rome blamed it on inexperienced, nervous soldiers and a badly run roadblock.
Sgrena also is urging action against Lozano.
“Above all, my objective is to take away the impunity that Americans have for their actions abroad,” said Sgrena.
The U.S. Department of State said it had no comment.
 


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