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Italy Judge Orders Arrest of 13 CIA Agents

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050624/ap_on_re_eu/italy_cia Italy Judge Orders Arrest of 13 CIA Agents By AIDAN LEWIS, Associated Press Writer 1
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2005
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      http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050624/ap_on_re_eu/italy_cia

      Italy Judge Orders Arrest of 13 CIA Agents

      By AIDAN LEWIS, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 12
      minutes ago

      ROME - An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13
      CIA agents for allegedly helping deport an imam to
      Egypt as part of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, an
      Italian official familiar with the investigation said
      Friday.

      The agents are suspected in the seizure of an
      Egyptian-born imam identified as Abu Omar on the
      streets of Milan in February 2003, according to the
      official, who requested anonymity because he was not
      authorized to release the information.

      The U.S. Embassy in Rome declined to comment.

      Prosecutors believe the agents seized Omar as part of
      the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, in which
      terror suspects are transferred to third countries
      without court approval, according to reports Friday in
      newspapers Corriere della Sera and Il Giorno.

      Investigators traced the agents through check-in
      details at Milan hotels and their use of Italian cell
      phones during the operation, the reports said. All the
      agents are American and include three women, Il Giorno
      said.

      The reports said another six agents were being
      investigated for helping prepare the operation.

      They said police also received an eyewitness account
      from an Egyptian woman who heard Omar calling for help
      and saw him being bundled into a white van as he
      walked from his house to a mosque.

      The report said Omar was taken to Aviano, a joint
      U.S.-Italian base north of Venice, and was flown from
      there to another U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany,
      before being taken in a second jet to Cairo.

      A judge also has issued a separate arrest warrant for
      Omar, news agencies ANSA and Apcom said. In that
      warrant, Judge Guido Salvini claimed the seizure of
      Omar represented a violation of Italian sovereignty,
      Apcom reported.

      Earlier this month, Milan prosecutor Armando Spataro
      told The Associated Press that the prosecution was
      treating the disappearance of Omar as an abduction.

      Spataro declined to say who was suspected for the
      alleged abduction, but he said Omar's disappearance
      damaged an ongoing operation by Italian authorities.
      He said he visited the air base in February.

      Omar was believed to have fought with jihadists in
      Afghanistan and Bosnia, and prosecutors were seeking
      evidence against him before his disappearance,
      according to a report last year in La Repubblica
      newspaper, which cited intelligence officials.

      Italian papers have reported that Omar, 42, called his
      wife and friends in Milan after his release last year,
      recounting he had been seized by Italian and American
      agents and taken to a secret prison in Egypt, where he
      was tortured with electric shocks.

      Italian officials believe he now is living in Egypt,
      although Italian newspaper accounts suggested he was
      returned to custody shortly after his release.
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