Egyptian imam kidnapped by CIA convicted in Italy for terrorism

Photo: Egyptian imam kidnapped by CIA convicted in Italy for terrorism / Arabic region

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, an Egyptian Muslim cleric more commonly known as Abu Omar, was convicted by an Italian court Friday on charges of international terrorism, nearly 11 years after he was illegally abducted by the CIA from a Milan street, dpa reported.

Milan judge Stefania Donadeo handed down a six-year prison sentence for Abu Omar, who was tried in absentia, as he is in Egypt.

Abu Omar was abducted on February 17, 2003 as part of the United States' war on terrorism, in a practice known as extraordinary rendition. He was flown to the US air base at Ramstein, Germany, and then transferred to Egypt, where he was held without charge until 2007. He was allegedly tortured.

His rendition led to the conviction in absentia of 23 US citizens and of the former head of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari.

Formerly an imam at one of Milan's most important mosques, Abu Omar was being investigated for terrorism by Italian police when he disappeared from the streets of Milan. According to prosecutors, he was part of a group of 14 foreigners who, between 2000 and 2003, were plotting terrorist acts in Italy and abroad.

The case had strained relations between the then governments of Italy and the United States.

His Italian lawyer, Carmelo Scambia, told reporters Friday that his client has always denied the charges.

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