26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, charged for kidnapping in Italy

Friday, February 16, 2007

CIA seal.

On Friday an Italian judge ordered 26 Americans, a CIA-led team, to stand trial for kidnapping of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in 2003. He was brought to Egypt where he says he was tortured as a subject to CIA "rendition". He was later released. Also on trial is Nicolo Pollari, Italy's former spy chief, and members of the SISMI military intelligence agency.

This is the first criminal trial over "renditions", aspects of the Bush administration's "war on terror". One of the defendants Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, said via his lawyer that he did not recognize the court.

I have been reduced to a wreck of a human being.

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a Muslim cleric also known as Abu Omar was taken by a CIA-led team in Milan on 17 February, 2003 and allegedly transferred by vehicle to the Aviano Air Base near Venice, later by air to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and lastly sent to Egypt. He was released from prison on Sunday and says that he would like to return to Italy. He also said he has been tortured with electric shocks, beatings, rape threats and genital abuse, and that "I have been reduced to a wreck of a human being."

Though Mr. Nasr was under investigation for terrorism-related activities at the time of his abduction no charges have been brought against him. Italian officials says Nasr was suspected of recruiting fighters for radical Islamic causes and fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia. Montasser al-Zayat, lawyer, said Nasr had only traveled to Jordan, Yemen, Albania and Germany.


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