US will not extradite CIA agents
February 28 - The US will not meet any request by Italy to extradite 26 Americans, most thought to be CIA agents, to stand trial over the kidnapping of a Muslim imam, the US state department's legal adviser has said.
John Bellinger, at a news briefing in Brussels, said on Wednesday: "We've not got an extradition request from Italy.
"If we got an extradition request from Italy, we would not extradite US officials to Italy."
A Milan judge earlier this month ordered the Americans to stand trial with Italian spies for kidnapping a Muslim imam and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.
Among those indicted for the 2003 abduction are the former heads of the US Central Intelligence Agency in Rome and Milan, and Nicolo Pollari, the former head of Italy's SISMI military intelligence agency, defence lawyers in Italy said.
Bellinger's comments confirm widespread expectations that Washington would not hand over the indictees, who will now most likely be tried in absentia when the trial begins on June 8.
The trial will be the first criminal case over "renditions" - one of the most controversial aspects of the US president's "war on terror".
Prosecutors say a CIA-led team, with SISMI's help, grabbed terrorism suspect Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, off a Milan street in February 2003, bundled him into a van and drove him to a military base in northern Italy.
From there, prosecutors allege the CIA flew him via Germany to Egypt where he says he was tortured with electric shocks, beatings, rape threats and genital abuse.
A European Parliament report published this month concluded that renditions were illegal and had gone on with the collusion of a number of European governments and their secret services.
Bellinger rejected the findings of the parliament report as "unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair". Agencies
Labels: Abu Umar, Berita, Luar Negeri, Mesir, U.S.