US pays $1.3mn to family of Italian hostage killed by drone strike

US President Barack Obama apologized on April 23, 2015 for a drone strike in January that year that killed Giovanni Lo Porto and Warren Weinstein, aid workers held hostage by al-Qaeda in Pakistan © Jonathan Ernst
The US has given a “donation” of $1.32 million to the family of Giovanni Lo Porto, the Italian aid worker killed in January 2015 by a US drone strike. Documents detailing the condolence payment also confirmed the attack took place in Pakistan.

In April 2015, US President Barack Obama admitted that Lo Porto and another aid worker, Warren Weinstein, were killed in a drone strike against a suspected Al-Qaeda base in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Lo Porto and Weinstein had been held hostage by the terrorist group since 2011.

Documents quoted by the Italian daily La Repubblica this week show that the US government signed an agreement with the Lo Porto family on July 8, to pay a total of 1,185,000 euros ($1.32 million) as a “donation in the memory of Giovanni Lo Porto.”

The agreement also confirmed that Lo Porto was killed in Pakistan.

The admission was made shortly after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s visit to Washington.

The US Embassy in Rome and Lo Porto’s brother, Daniele, confirmed the payment made to Lo Porto’s parents, Vito and Giusy.

“We did that knowing that no dollar figure would ever bring back their loved ones and, out of respect for the families, we are not sharing any details of those payments,” a spokesman for the embassy told The Guardian.

On the anniversary of Lo Porto’s death, his family complained that both Rome and Washington had forgotten about them. No Italian government officials showed up for Lo Porto’s funeral, his brother Daniele told The Guardian.

Following the payment, Lo Porto’s mother Giusy released a statement indicating that she did not believe justice had been served.

“I will not see my son at home with his smile. They took my precious son and they also killed me. Now all that remains for me is to wait until the last day of my life for divine, not earthly, justice,” she said.

According to the documents obtained by La Repubblica and seen by The Guardian, the condolence payment came with the following disclaimer:

“This does not imply the consent by the United States of America to the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Italian courts in disputes, if any, directly or indirectly connected with this instrument. Nothing in this instrument implies a waiver to sovereign or personal immunity.”