Judge indicts 31 over 'extraordinary rendition'
Prosecutors say Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr was flown to Egypt to be tortured
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Friday, 16, Feb 2007 08:06
An Italian judge has ordered that 31 people stand trial over the kidnapping of an Islamic cleric as part of the US policy of extraordinary rendition.
Virtually all of the 26 American suspects are thought to be present or former CIA agents, while the other five defendants are Italian nationals.
Prosecutors allege that Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr was abducted in Milan on February 17th 2003 and flown to Germany and then his native Egypt to be questioned over suspected terrorist involvement.
Critics say Mr Nasr, only recently released, was taken to Africa in order to be tortured.
The previously secret US practice of extraordinary rendition, employed at the height of the war on terror, saw terror suspects taken to countries with more relaxed laws on interrogation and torture.
Italian prime minister Romano Prodi has not yet decided whether to ask for the 26 American defendants to be extradited - a request almost certainly to be turned down - but under Italian law the trial can go ahead regardless.
A trial date of June 8th was today set by a judge in Rome today.
Earlier this week Switzerland launched an investigation into the same case; after the flight taking Mr Nasr to Germany flew through the country's airspace.