The authorities in Egypt have released a Muslim cleric kidnapped in a suspected CIA operation in Italy. Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, or Abu Omar, was grabbed off a street in Milan in 2003 before being flown to Cairo. He was initially charged with membership of an illegal organisation. When these charges were dropped, he was re-arrested under Egypt’s emergency laws.
A total of 32 suspects face indictment in connection with the kidnapping. They include the head of Italy’s secret services and a group of Americans, believed to be CIA agents. If heard, the case will be the first over the practice of so-called “renditions”.
As part of its global “war on terror” the US acknowledges secret transfers of terrorism suspects to third party countries. But it denies torturing detainees, or handing them to countries that do.