Italian judge orders CIA trial to proceed

March 19, 2008 at 5:41 PM

ROME, March 19 (UPI) -- An Italian court ruled the trial of 26 U.S. intelligence agents involved in the rendition of suspected terrorist sympathizer Abu Omar would resume in July.

The CIA agents are being tried in abstentia for allegedly kidnapping Abu Omar in Milan in 2003 and spiriting him off to Egypt for a presumably forceful interrogation.

Judge Oscar Magi Wednesday ordered the trial to resume April 18, at which time he would consider a defense motion to hold the trial behind closed doors, the ANSA news agency said. Arguments in the case were penciled in for July 8.

The trial had been suspended pending the outcome of a jurisdictional dispute between Italian government officials and prosecutors in Milan.

Magi said Wednesday that he could not wait for the dispute to be settled before starting the proceedings because a further delay would violate constitutional requirements for a speedy trial.

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