WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Washington should distance itself from harsh interrogation techniques or face questions regarding its commitment to human rights, Amnesty International said.
An Italian court Wednesday convicted 23 CIA officers and a U.S. Air Force colonel of arranging the kidnapping of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr from Milan and subsequent flight to Egypt, where he said he was tortured.
The Americans were tried in absentia. A Milan prosecutor said the Italian Justice Ministry would consider later whether to seek their extradition from the United States.
Prosecutors said the Americans snatched Nasr, a radical Egyptian imam, from a Milan street in broad daylight in 2003. The cleric was later flown to Cairo, where he said he was subjected to electroshock and physical abuse.
Tom Parker, Amnesty International's U.S. policy director for counter-terrorism and human rights, said the Italian decision was "a graphic illustration" of the damage such operations were to U.S. national security.
"Continuing these practices will inevitably have a chilling effect on countries' willingness to work with the United States until nations can be sure that America will no longer operate as a rogue nation outside the law," he said.
He called on U.S. President Barack Obama to repudiate the practice of so-called extraordinary renditions and hold those involved in the practice accountable for their actions.
"The United States shouldn't need a foreign court to distinguish right from wrong," he said.