Rome judge indicts U.S. soldier for Italian agent's death

A Rome judge has indicted Mario Luis Lozano, the United States soldier accused of murdering an Italian secret agent in a controversial "friendly fire" incident in Iraq in 2005, Italian news agency ANSA reported Wednesday.

Judge Sante Spinaci granted an indictment request made seven months ago by prosecutors in the capital, who want the trial to go ahead even though Lozano will not be present.

Proceedings are set to begin on April 17 in Rome, the report said.

Lozano is accused of firing on an Italian car carrying Italian Military Intelligence Service officer Nicola Calipari and a released hostage to Baghdad airport on March 4, 2005.

Calipari died shielding hostage Giuliana Sgrena, who was slightly wounded. A Carabinieri officer was also wounded.

As well as homicide, Wednesday's indictment also cited attempted double homicide on the part of Lozano, whose current whereabouts are unknown.

The Calipari-Lozano case has strained Italy's relations with the United States because Washington refused to fully cooperate with the Italian probe into the "friendly fire" shooting.

In May 2006 the United States said it would not give Italy the names of the soldiers manning the roadblock along the so-called Route Irish from Baghdad city center to the airport.

Lozano was initially identified thanks to a young people in Bologna who used his computer savvy to uncover the soldier's name which had been blacked out in a report published on the Internet, the report said.

Source: Xinhua



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