MILAN — An Italian judge says he has convicted 23 Americans of the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric from a Milan street in a CIA extraordinary rendition, AP reports.
The American suspects — all but one identified by prosecutors as CIA agents — are being tried in absentia and are considered fugitives.
The Americans are accused of kidnapping Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003, from a street in Milan, then transferring him by van to the Aviano Air Base in northern Italy, where he was put on a plane and taken to Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany. He was then moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released, but has not been permitted to leave Egypt to attend the trial.
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The trial is the first by any government to scrutinize the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, which human rights advocates charge was the CIA’s way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where it is practiced.