Italy seeks to indict 31 in cleric's abduction

From the Associated Press

An Italian prosecutor Tuesday requested the indictment of 26 Americans and five Italian secret service officials in the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Milan, a case that continues to be an irritant to U.S.-Italian relations.

Prosecutor Armando Spataro said the request was aimed at CIA agents and the former head of Italian military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari, for alleged involvement in the kidnapping.

Prosecutors have identified all but one of the Americans as CIA agents, including former Rome and Milan station chiefs.

Last month, Spataro asked the center-left government of Romano Prodi to request the Americans' extradition; he has not received a response.

The operation involving Egyptian cleric Hassan Osama Nasr was believed to be part of an alleged CIA "extraordinary rendition" program in which terrorism suspects are transferred to third countries, where some allegedly are tortured.

Despite an extradition treaty with Italy, the United States appears unlikely to hand over CIA agents for trial abroad.

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