Italian cleric in CIA rendition case sentenced to six years in prison

Dec. 6, 2013 at 10:54 AM
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MILAN, Italy, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A Muslim cleric whose kidnapping by CIA agents sparked debate about extraordinary rendition was sentenced Friday in Italy to six years in prison for terrorism.

Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr was sentenced in Milan for his conviction on being part of a terrorist organization, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was in Egypt during the trial and was sentenced without being in court.

Nasr disappeared in Milan in February 2003. He was released from an Egyptian prison a year later and said he had been kidnapped by CIA agents in an action known as extraordinary rendition. He said immediately after his abduction he had been taken to a NATO base in Germany and then to Egypt where he was tortured.

In May, Italian prosecutors restarted the case against Nasr that had been stopped by the kidnapping, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported.

He was convicted of criminal association with the goal of terrorism and with helping organize false documents to bring recruits to Islamic terror camps.

Nasr was not associated with terrorism in any way, said his attorney, Carmelo Scambia.

"It's a political trial, if you will, an ideological trial against someone who professes a political faith," the attorney said.

An Italian court convicted 23 CIA agents, including the Milan station chief, and a former U.S. Air Force officer in the abduction. They were sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison, but have never been extradited.

The convictions created friction between Italy and the United States, which expressed "disappointment" in the verdicts.

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