An Italian court issued a European arrest warrant for 22 CIA agents accused of kidnapping an Egyptian Muslim leader in the northern Italian city of Milan in 2003, BBC reported.Reply
Milan magistrates accuse the CIA of abducting Osama Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, without an Italian permission, and sending him to Egypt for interrogation, where he was tortured.
A European warrant is valid across the 25-nation bloc and doesn’t need the approval of any government.
Italian Prosecutor Armando Spataro Spataro told Reuters that he also asked Interpol to try to arrest the CIA agents anywhere in the world
The Italian authorities had already issued arrest orders within Italy. No arrests have so far been made.
One Correspondent said the 22 CIA agents involved in the kidnapping returned to the U.S., and suggested that an official Italian extradition request is unlikely.
Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli has demanded more court documentation before deciding whether to apply to the U.S. for extradition.
Hassan, 42, was the former Imam of a mosque in Milan which had been placed under close watch following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. He was snatched by CIA agents on February 17, 2003 and flown out of the country from a U.S. base in Aviano, north of Venice.
Reports say Hassan called his family last year, and told them he had been tortured with electric shocks during his detention.
The CIA has refused to comment on the case and the Italian government denied having any knowledge of the kidnap plot.
The case is a legal challenge to the U.S.‘s policy of extraordinary rendition, under which foreign suspects are flown to foreign countries without legal process.
Human right groups say that extraordinary rendition is a violation of international law, as the suspects often end up being tortured in third countries.
The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently defended the use of rendition, saying it was a “legal weapon”, and suggested that it was often carried out with the knowledge, or participation, of European governments.
Reports of the renditions are surfacing at a time when Washington also faces accusations that the CIA runs secret prisons in Europe and elsewhere.
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