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Berlusconi demands US 'respect' Italian sovereignty after CIA abduction scandal

[JURIST] Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official profile] took the remarkable step Friday of demanding in an official statement [in Italian] delivered to summoned US ambassador Mel Sembler that the US government exhibit "full respect" for Italian sovereignty in the wake of a controversy over the alleged 2003 CIA abduction of an Islamic cleric in Milan [Washington Post report]. Sembler provided assurances that US respect towards Italy was "full and total." Pursuant to an Italian court order arrest warrants have been issued [JURIST report] for 13 CIA agents over the alleged kidnapping of Abu Omar, an imam already being watched by Italian authorities as part of a terrorism investigation. Italian prosecutors believe the operation was part of a controversial US anti-terror policy known as "extraordinary rendition," in which suspects are moved to third countries without permission. BBC News has more.

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