Rome

CIA spy requests pardon for Milan imam kidnapping

Says Italian government 'involved' in extraordinary rendition

CIA spy requests pardon for Milan imam kidnapping

Rome, September 12 - The CIA's former top spy in Milan has requested a pardon from Italy for his role in the 2003 abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr under the controversial U.S. "extraordinary rendition" program, claiming that Italian officials were involved. Robert Seldon Lady, former CIA Milan station chief, was among 22 CIA agents whose convictions were upheld in Italy's top court of appeals, the Cassation Court, last September for kidnapping Nasr in the world's first judicial examination of the controversial US practice in the so-called war on terror during the administration of president George W. Bush. In his written appeal for clemency to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Lady said that the abduction took place "following orders from US officials" but was "in collaboration with high-ranking members of the Italian government". He also stressed that the US gave "millions of dollars" to Italy to fight al-Qaeda, which helped "stop many terrorist plots". Lady, who was sentenced in absentia to nine years in the case, faced extradition in July when he was detained by Panamanian police for irregularities regarding an entry fee into Costa Rica and handed over to Interpol. But authorities in Panama, which does not have an extradition agreement with Italy, released him in the same day and he flew back to the US, which, according to Milan prosecutor Ferdinando Pomarici, was "exerting pressure in all directions". (photo: Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr)

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