July 20, 2006

Italy prosecutor asks for extradition of US agents

MILAN (Reuters) - A prosecutor has asked Italy's new
justice minister to request the extradition of more than 20 CIA
agents over the alleged kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in 2003,
a judicial source said on Thursday.

Prosecutors had already lodged a request for the
extradition of 22 suspected U.S. agents with the government of
conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi but it was

Berlusconi's government lost a national election in April
to the center left led by Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

Two Italian intelligence chiefs have also been arrested in
a probe into an alleged "extraordinary rendition" -- the
kidnapping of a terrorism suspect for secret questioning in a
third country.

Prosecutors say a CIA-led team seized Hassan Mustafa Osama
Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, off a Milan street, and drove him
to a U.S. military base in Aviano, northern Italy, from where
he was flown to Egypt.

Nasr says interrogators tortured him there.

In July, a judge issued arrest warrants for four more
suspected spies and one American who worked at the Aviano base.
Milan's chief prosecutor Mario Blandini added their names to
the extradition request.

Italian investigators accuse Nasr of having ties to al
Qaeda and recruiting combatants for Iraq, according to court