[JURIST] The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] contacted Italian intelligence about the possibility of performing extraordinary renditions [JURIST news archive] in the days following the September 11 attacks, according to testimony during Italian judicial proceedings against US and Italian agents on Thursday. The proceedings center around the alleged 2003 kidnapping [JURIST news archive; WP timeline] and extraordinary rendition of Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile]. Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, says he was tortured after being grabbed off a street in Milan and ultimately sent to Egypt. Hearings [JURIST report] to decide the legal fate of some 30 operatives started last month after a December request by Italian prosecutors that Judge Caterina Interlandi issue indictments [JURIST report] against 26 CIA agents and five officials from the Italian Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [official website], including former SISMI chief Nicola Pollari. Officials in Switzerland said Wednesday that they are launching a criminal probe [JURIST report] into the alleged unlawful use of Swiss airspace by US agents to transport Omar from Milan to Germany.
In October, Italian prosecutors said they had completed their investigation [JURIST report] into the incident and would once again press for the extradition of the 26 American agents [JURIST report] believed to be involved in the case. If extradition is denied, Milan prosecutor Armando Spataro has said he would be forced to try the US agents in absentia [JURIST report]. A judicial decision is expected Friday on whether to indict the American and Italian agents for kidnapping. Reuters has more.