[JURIST Europe] Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli [official profile] has accused Milan prosecutors of unlawfully pressuring him to request the extradition from the US [JURIST report] of 22 CIA agents allegedly responsible for the 2003 kidnapping and extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of Egyptian cleric Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile; JURIST report]. Castelli made the accusation after receiving a prosecutors' letter urging action on their original extradition request of four months ago.
Nasr, a terrorist suspect also known as Abu Omar, was kidnapped from a Milan street and then allegedly flown to Egypt where he was tortured. Castelli, together with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official profile], has suggested that pushing the case forward may hurt US-Italian ties. Berlusconi is a staunch US ally, but has in the past warned the US [JURIST report] to respect Italian sovereignty in the investigation. In November, Castelli suggested that principal prosecutor Armando Spataro was a leftist animated by "anti-Americanism" [JURIST report] in his pursuit of the case. AP has more.