25 August 2005 -- A senior Italian Red Cross official was quoted as saying today that the Red Cross treated "four presumed Iraqi terrorists" at its Baghdad hospital in order to secure last year's release of two kidnapped Italian aid workers.
Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing commissioner of the Italian Red Cross, told the daily "La Stampa" in an interview that the deal to free the two Italian women, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, was kept secret from U.S. officials.
Scelli said the Italian Red Cross also treated four Iraqi children, sick with leukemia, as part of the deal.
Scelli said the conditions were "accepted and shared" by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office.
Berlusconi's office said today the Red Cross was independent and did not answer to the government.