These are the latest pictures of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr or Abu Omar, the Muslim cleric kidnapped in 2003 from Milan and flown to Cairo. When Egypt released him on Sunday, he said he was a broken man. He claims he was beaten and given electric shocks under interrogation. An Italian Judge has ordered a group of Americans, believed to be CIA agents, to stand trial over the case. It will be the first trial on so-called “renditions” – or secret transfers of terror suspects to a third country practising torture.
Former US intelligence chiefs in Rome and Milan are among 26 Americans accused. Prime Minister Romano Prodi is under pressure to seek their extradition from the US. The former head of Italy’s secret service, Nicolo Pollari, is one of six Italians to appear in court. Prosecutors have testimony from his predecessor claiming CIA approached him about removing suspected terrorists. He suggested they speak with Pollari. Pollari denies any wrongdoing.
Washington has not responded to the charges. It denies carrrying out or sanctioning torture. Two days ago, the European Parliament voted in favour of a report saying 14 of its member governments knew about the renditions, actively helped them or turned a blind eye to them. Italy was among their number. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi denies knowledge of the operation. But it’s believed Prodi has kept classified documents concerning it under wraps.