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Italy moves to try CIA agents

MILAN, Italy, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A judge in Milan, Italy, ruled Friday that 26 CIA agents and six Italian intelligence officers should stand trial for the 2002 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric.

The trial, which was set for June 8, would mark the first challenge to the U.S. policy of "extraordinary rendition" in a court of law, ANSA reported Friday.

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The suspects include former Milan and Rome CIA station chiefs Robert Seldon Lady and Jeff Castelli, who are expected to be tried in absentia.

Also named as defendants are the former head of Italian military intelligence, Niccolo' Pollari, and his former deputy, Marco Mancini.

However, the Italian government has filed a suit against the trial in the country's Constitutional Court, claiming prosecutors are overstepping the limits placed on their powers by the Italian constitution. The ruling of the Constitutional Court could put a stop to the trial.

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, the former imam of Milan's main mosque, disappeared from the city Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors say he was kidnapped by CIA agents and taken to Egypt, where he was tortured.

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