[JURIST] Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli [official profile] said Wednesday that the Italian government would not validate Milan prosecutor Armando Spataro's request to extradite from the United States 22 CIA agents allegedly responsible for the 2003 kidnapping and extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of Egyptian cleric Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile]. Castelli, who denounced the pressure from Spataro [JURIST report] to forward the extradition requests last month, did not explain the reason for denying the requests, which were originally made in November 2005. Spataro, who Castelli accused of leftist political motivation [JURIST report], is expected to resubmit the request to the incoming center-left government that will take office in May. If that fails, Spataro asserted that he would attempt to prosecute the CIA agents in absentia [JURIST report].
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. Italian prosecutors were in the middle of an investigation into the cleric's connection to al Qaeda when he was allegedly abducted. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official profile] has said the alleged kidnapping was a violation of Italian sovereignty [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.