Italy faces fine over CIA abduction of Egyptian cleric

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Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who is seeking millions of euros in damages from the Italian state, after accusing CIA agents and Italian spies of kidnapping him in Milan and flying him to Egypt for torture, attends an Amnesty International news conference in Cairo April 11, 2007. The news conference was held to launch the human rights watchdog's report on systematic human rights abuses.  Photo courtesy REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who is seeking millions of euros in damages from the Italian state, after accusing CIA agents and Italian spies of kidnapping him in Milan and flying him to Egypt for torture, attends an Amnesty International news conference in Cairo April 11, 2007. The news conference was held to launch the human rights watchdog's report on systematic human rights abuses. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

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(RNS) Italy must pay compensation to an Egyptian imam’s family after a European court ruled his human rights had been breached in a CIA operation that had him abducted in Milan and sent to his country of birth, where he was tortured.

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Italy to pay 115,000 euros ($126,500) in damages and legal expenses to Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr and his family.

The cleric, who is also known as Abu Omar, was living in Milan in February 2003 when he was snatched from a street in a CIA-led operation. He was then flown to a U.S. airbase in Germany and onward to Egypt, where he was tortured during interrogation, Deutsche Welle reported.

Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who is seeking millions of euros in damages from the Italian state, after accusing CIA agents and Italian spies of kidnapping him in Milan and flying him to Egypt for torture, attends an Amnesty International news conference in Cairo April 11, 2007. The news conference was held to launch the human rights watchdog's report on systematic human rights abuses. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who is seeking millions of euros in damages from the Italian state, after accusing CIA agents and Italian spies of kidnapping him in Milan and flying him to Egypt for torture, attends an Amnesty International news conference in Cairo on April 11, 2007. The news conference was held to launch the human rights watchdog’s report on systematic human rights abuses. Photo courtesy of  REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

Concluding the case on Tuesday (Feb. 23), the Strasbourg court said: “(The) Italian authorities were aware that the applicant had been a victim of an extraordinary rendition operation which had begun with his abduction in Italy and continued with his transfer abroad.”

Nasr had moved to Italy in 1998 and was granted political asylum three years later. Although Italy has convicted CIA agents for their role in the extraordinary rendition, the Italians have not requested they be extradited.

Ferdinando Pomarici, a former Milan prosecutor who worked on the Abu Omar case, said on Wednesday that the ruling was a blemish on Italy’s justice system, in which “no one could ever say they had been deprived of their constitutional rights.”

(Rosie Scammell is Rome correspondent for RNS)

  • Paolo Azzaroli

    Mayor responsabilities in this case are to be searched among CIA and US Authorities.