(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.
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)