Nicola Calipari (June 23, 1953 – March 4, 2005) was an Italian SISMI military intelligence officer with the rank of Major General. Calipari was killed by United States soldiers while escorting a recently released Italian hostage, journalist Giuliana Sgrena, to Baghdad International Airport.

Career[edit | edit source]

Calipari was born in Reggio Calabria. When killed, he was married and had two children; he had spent most of his career inside the Italian police, rising to prominent positions, before joining the Italian military Security and Intelligence Service (SISMI) two years before his death.

During the 1990s he was involved in several rescues of people kidnapped by 'Ndrangheta and other criminal organizations.

Rescue of Giuliana Sgrena[edit | edit source]

Main article: Rescue of Giuliana Sgrena

Nicola Calipari, along with Andrea Carpani, liberated (in undisclosed circumstances) Giuliana Sgrena from her captors. On the way back to Baghdad International Airport, the Toyota Corolla they were travelling in came under fire, in disputed conditions, by US soldiers that had set up a blocking position to protect the convoy transporting the US ambassador, John Negroponte.

According to the reconstruction of Giuliana Sgrena [1], Calipari threw himself on her, and shortly after died (shot in his temple). A Coalition report later identified the soldier who shot Calipari as New York State National Guardsman Mario Lozano, a member of the 1st Battalion of the 69th Infantry Regiment (of the Third Infantry Division).

Reactions in Italy[edit | edit source]

Sorrow for Calipari's death united the nation, tens of thousands of Italian citizens paid their respects to Calipari, who had become a national hero, at the state funeral on March 8, 2005, at Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome.

He was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor by President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi on March 22, 2005 [2].

Video[edit | edit source]

On May 8, 2007, the Italian TV channel Canale 5 broadcast a video [3] of the very first moments after the shooting. In this video, Calipari's car lights are switched on (while US officials said the car was travelling with lights switched off), and the car is at least 50 metres from the US army tank. This means that Lozano shot while the car was more than 50 metres from the tank, in contradiction with what Lozano said.[1]

Judicial investigation[edit | edit source]

Italian prosecutors are now actively seeking to interview Lozano as part of their criminal investigation into Calipari's death. [4]

On December 22, 2005 the special prosecutors of the Magistrate's service of Rome announced that they were considering charging Lozano with voluntary manslaughter. [5]

On January 18, 2006, it was reported that the prosecutors had decided to charge Lozano with murder. The prosecutors indicated that despite making over twenty formal requests to the United States, they refused to formally identify Lozano. After confirming Lozano's identity, the Magistrate service appointed an attorney to represent Lozano during the charging process. If Lozano does not accept service of process and appear at his upcoming trial, he will be tried in absentia. [6]

On February 7, 2007, it was reported that Judge Sante Spinaci had agreed to allow the trial in absentia to move forward. The trial will begin on April 17. [7]

On October 25, 2007, an Italian court dismissed the charges against Lozano after determining that multinational forces in Iraq were under the exclusive jurisdiction of the country that sent them. [8]

Political implications[edit | edit source]

Calipari's death caused a major international incident, since Calipari, a highly decorated SISMI agent, had become a national hero in Italy. As a result, there was significant pressure on the government of Italy to publicly support another investigation into the shooting, this time being conducted by prosecutors.

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated in Parliament on May 5, 2005 that the government remains fully committed to supporting the ongoing judicial investigation into Calipari's death. One of the most prominent leaders of the opposition in the lower house of parliament, Piero Fassino, called for the United States to facilitate cooperation with the investigation, indicating that they believe the U.S. Army should produce Lozano for questioning by the magistrates. [9]

Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, head of the Italian Federation of the Greens, indicated that should the United States fail to cooperate with this investigation by allowing Lozano to be questioned, he would push for a hearing at the International Court of Justice[10].

Nicola Calipari's death has sparked one of the most serious diplomatic incidents between U.S. and Italy since the end of World War II. Other such incidents include the Sigonella crisis, the Cavalese cable car disaster in 1998, the Gladio scandal and the Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr abduction in 2003 (Imam Rapito affair). [11]

References[edit | edit source]

bg:Никола Калипари de:Nicola Calipari it:Nicola Calipari no:Nicola Calipari scn:Nicola Calipari sl:Nicola Calipari

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