European arrest warrant issued for 22 CIA
December 23, 2005
MILAN (Reuters) - A Milan court has issued a European arrest warrant for 22
CIA agents suspected of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from Italy's financial
capital in 2003, Prosecutor Armando Spataro said on Friday.
Milan magistrates suspect a CIA team grabbed Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr off a
Milan street and flew him for interrogation to Egypt, where he said he was
Prosecutors asked the Italian Justice Ministry last month to seek the
extradition of the suspects from the United States, but Justice Minister
Roberto Castelli has not yet decided whether to act on the request.
A European Union warrant is automatically valid across the 25-nation bloc
and does not require approval of any government.
The warrant was agreed by the European Union in the wake of the Sept 11
attacks on the United States in 2001 and was hailed as a key part of the bloc's
fight against terrorism.
Spataro told Reuters he had also asked Interpol to try to detain the
suspects anywhere in the world.
Earlier this week, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he did not
believe CIA agents had kidnapped Nasr, but added that governments were not
going to defeat terrorism by playing by the rules.
Justice officials believe Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, is still in custody
in Egypt. Italian investigators have accused him of ties to al Qaeda and
recruiting combatants for Iraq, and a Milan judge has issued a warrant for his
There has been a series of investigations into whether U.S. intelligence
officials used Europe as a hub to illegally transfer militant suspects to third
countries for interrogation.
The U.S. embassy in Rome was not immediately available for comment.