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Monday 23rd of May 2022
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Milan imam wins abduction case against CIA

Milan imam wins abduction case against CIA

The lawyer for the Italian imam kidnapped by the US intelligence service hails the conviction of the former CIA agents as 'a just reaffirmation of responsibility'.

 

On Tuesday, a court in Milan found 22 former CIA agents and a retired US Air Force colonel guilty in absentia for the abduction of Milan imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, in 2003.

Nasr, who was kidnapped over alleged suspicions of recruiting fighters, says he was tortured and threatened with rape after he was transferred to Cairo by his American kidnappers.

The Egyptian cleric and his wife were awarded 1.5 million euros in damages in Tuesday's verdict.

"Of course the sentence is certainly important," Nasr's lawyer, Carmelo Scambia, said in an interview with Press TV, describing the treatment of Abu Omar as 'criminal' and 'an illegal act punishable under law'.

The uncovering of the abduction has raised concerns within the Italian Muslim community of being kidnapped over baseless terror charges pressed by US intelligence services, backed by their European counterparts.

Italy's judiciary, which is independent of the government, went ahead with the case despite a successful government suit invoking secrecy that ruled out much of the evidence and resulted in three CIA operatives obtaining immunity.

Two top former Italian spies were also cleared of all charges due to secrecy norms while two less senior operatives were convicted.

The 23 former US agents are not likely to serve time behind the bars, but will not be able to return to Europe, where their arrest warrants remain active.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Thursday sympathized with the US for its 'disappointment' with the Milan court's conviction of its agents, but stressed that the ''judges' decisions have to be respected even when you don't agree with them.''

The two-year Milan trial was the first case in which the controversial US practice of 'extraordinary rendition' was challenged in court.

Rendition was first authorized by former US president Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stepped up after George W. Bush declared his so-called war on terror following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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