Egypt releases CIA-kidnapped Muslim cleric

Egyptian authorities released a Muslim cleric who was kidnapped by CIA agents in 2003 in Italy, and handed over to Egypt, the imam's lawyer said.

Egypt releases CIA-kidnapped Muslim cleric
The cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was seized by CIA agents in a street in the northern Italian city of Milan on February 17, 2003.

He was then flown via a joint U.S.-Italian base to Germany, and then to Egypt, where he was tortured.

His lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat, said an Egyptian court ordered the release of Abu Omar, and that he has been freed. "I expected that the justifications for his detention are done with," he said.

Abu Omar was initially accused of belonging to an illegal organization, but the charges were dropped, and he was briefly released in April 2004 before being detained without charge under Egypt's emergency laws.

Al-Zayat said he believed Abu Omar was rearrested after ignoring warnings not to speak to anyone about his kidnapping and torture in Egypt.

Abu Omar's abduction has caused public outrage in Italy and has stained relations between Washington and Rome, a staunch U.S. ally.

Italian prosecutors are now seeking the indictment of 26 CIA agents and their Italian counterparts on charges of kidnapping Abu Omar.

The case has fueled debate in Europe about 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 United States has admitted using the practice of "extraordinary renditions" as a tool in the "war on terror", but claimed that it has never handed over suspects to countries that condone torture.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16