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Italian agent's death: U.S. soldier acquitted

  • Story Highlights
  • Italian judge acquits U.S. soldier accused of killing an Italian agent in Iraq
  • Prosecutor Franco Ionta says Italy has no jurisdiction in the case
  • Nicola Calipari was killed in 2005 after securing the release of a journalist
  • Soldiers opened fire on vehicle as it approached a checkpoint
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ROME, Italy (CNN) -- An Italian judge Thursday acquitted a U.S. soldier accused of killing an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq, saying Italy has no jurisdiction in the case.

Prosecutor Franco Ionta would not comment on the decision, but said the reasons behind it would be made public in the next few weeks.

Spc. Mario Lozano of the New York Army National Guard was indicted in February by an Italian judge on charges of homicide and attempted homicide for the fatal shooting of an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq.

There was no extradition request and Lozano was expected to be tried in absentia.

Intelligence agent Nicola Calipari was killed in the March 4, 2005 incident shortly after he secured the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who had been held by insurgents in Iraq.

U.S. soldiers opened fire on their vehicle as it approached a checkpoint en route to Baghdad International Airport. Sgrena and the driver were injured in the shooting.

A U.S. investigation into the incident found that the vehicle was traveling about 50 mph and failed to stop at a checkpoint when ordered to do so. It concluded that no disciplinary action should be taken against any soldier involved in the shooting.

However, an Italian investigation found that no clear warning signs were given to the vehicle carrying Sgrena, and found that stress and inexperience among U.S. soldiers played a role in the shooting.

It also said U.S. officials had been told about plans to rescue Sgrena -- something the U.S. military denied.

The Italian report also disputed that the vehicle was traveling at 50 mph, saying it was more like 20 to 30 mph and noted there were no speed limit signs posted on the road.

The incident strained relations between the United States and Italy, two stalwart allies in the Iraq war. The release of the U.S. report into the incident put public pressure on then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to pull Italian troops from Iraq. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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