The first trial over the controversial US anti-terror policy of so-called “extraordinary rendition” has opened in Milan. 26 American citizens, most of whom are believed to be CIA agents, are among the accused, along with Nicolo Pollari, the former head of Italy’s secret service. Five other Italians are also charged with kidnapping an Egyptian imam.
Abu Omar, suspected by the CIA of recruiting terrorists, claims he was bundled into a van in a Milan street and taken to Egypt. There he says he was imprisoned for four years and tortured, before Egyptian authorities released him earlier this year.
The 26 supposed CIA defendants are being tried in absentia. Italy has not yet asked the US for extradition, something Washington has already said it won’t do. The case coincides with the visit to Italy of President Bush, whose government’s been criticised for illegally kidnapping terrorist suspects.