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Italian court tosses evidence spy trial

ROME, March 12 (UPI) -- The lead prosecutor said he will try his case against U.S. and Italian spies, despite Italy's high court ruling that crucial evidence was inadmissible.

The Constitutional Court decision came in a case between Italy and the United States, in which 25 CIA agents, a U.S. Air Force colonel and several Italian intelligence officials are charged with seizing an Egyptian terrorism suspect in 2003, The New York Times reported Thursday.

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While the ruling Wednesday didn't negate the indictments, it did rule inadmissible much of the evidence that provided the basis for the case, including material seized from the intelligence personnel.

The suspect, Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, was seized in Milan in what is known as extraordinary rendition, in which terrorism suspects are sent for interrogation to other countries, some of which use torture techniques, the Times said. Prosecutors allege the defendants kidnapped Nasr, took him to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany, and eventually to Egypt. The U.S. defendants are being tried in absentia.

The court also tossed portions of an Italian police officer's testimony in which he said he participated in the capture of Nasr at the request of the CIA chief in Milan

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The court ruled as admissible evidence from wiretaps of intelligence operatives, which the Italian government sought to dismiss, the Times said.

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