Perugia, February 1 - Italy's former SISMI secret service chief Nicolo' Pollari, known for his role in the CIA abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr, was acquitted Friday for alleged breach of protocol and illegally obtaining files in the case. At a preliminary hearing in Perugia, former official Pio Pompa was also acquitted of the charges but was then indicted on separate charges of unauthorized espionage, to be tried October 17. The two were accused of obtaining a confidential disc with unauthorized files on magistrates, officials and journalists which pertained to the 2003 extraordinary rendition by the CIA of the Muslim cleric in Milan. The former head of SISMI said through his lawyer that he was "relieved, despite the fact that a State-secrecy injunction prevented him from fully defending himself". In September the supreme Cassation Court upheld the convictions of 22 CIA agents and a retired US air force officer in the abduction of suspected jihadist recruiter Nasr, who was flown to Egypt where he says he was tortured. The case was the first judicial examination of extraordinary rendition, one of the controversial practices of America's war on terror, first authorised by Bill Clinton, widely used under George W. Bush, and extended by Obama on the condition that torture was stopped.
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di Angelo Biscardi