Italians Arrested, Americans Sought for Imam Kidnap

Police arrested two officials from Italy's military intelligence agency on Wednesday, July 5, and a judge issued arrest warrants for four Americans

Italians Arrested, Americans Sought for Imam Kidnap

Police arrested two officials from Italy's military intelligence agency on Wednesday, July 5, and a judge issued arrest warrants for four Americans over the CIA abduction of a Muslim imam in northern Italy in 2003.

Marco Mancini, number two in the military intelligence service Sismi, and another Sismi official had been arrested, said a statement from the Milan's prosecutor's office cited by Reuters.

Three of the Americans were CIA agents and the fourth worked at the US military air base in Aviano, northern Italy, it added.

The new arrests and the warrants relate to the 2003 abduction of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, the former imam of a Milan mosque, and flying him to Egypt where he was tortured.

An Italian court has already issued arrest warrants for 22 suspected US agents over the abduction.

Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was kidnapped as he was walking from home to mosque and bundled into a white van.

He was then moved to the US military base at Aviano and from there to an Egyptian jail.

Italian prosecutors believe the agents kidnapped him as part of the CIA's infamous rendition program, which allows the transfer of suspects to third countries without court approval.

The CIA has kept details of rendition cases a closely guarded secret, but has defended the controversial practice as an effective and legal way to prevent terrorism.

Collaboration

Mancini was accused of collaborating in the kidnap, judicial sources said earlier on Wednesday.

This is the first time Italian officials have been linked to the abduction.

The European Union's Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said he respected the prosecutor's decision to arrest Mancini.

"The prosecutor is investigating, he is accusing this officer of the Italian secret service, we'll see whether he is responsible or not," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The Abu Omar case is one of the best known examples of CIA secret operations in Washington's so-called war on terror, including renditions.

If an Italian role is confirmed, it would lend evidence to charges that European countries colluded with the United States in the secret renditions of terror suspects.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe pressed on Tuesday, June 27, for a review of bilateral agreements with the US, especially by counties hosting US military bases, following revelations of CIA-run renditions.

Reports of clandestine CIA interrogation centers and transport flights for terror suspects emerged in November, along with suggestions of on-board torture sessions.

In a report made public on 7 July, following a seven-month inquiry, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said he had uncovered a "spider's web" of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers carried out by the US.

Amnesty International has accused European countries of being partners in crime in the US renditions.

Source: Islamonline

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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