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Lawyer claims imam kidnapped by CIA in Italy was beaten in US custody

[JURIST] The lawyer for Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile], the Egyptian cleric who CIA operatives allegedly kidnapped and moved out of Italy [JURIST news archive] to Egypt in 2003 in an instance of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive], has claimed that Nasr was physically beaten while in US custody. Montasser Zayat [Wikipedia profile] told Knight Ridder newspapers that Nasr informed him of the abuse in meetings in March and April, his first meetings with a lawyer since his 2003 abduction. Zayat also said that Nasr detailed his torture at the hands of Egyptian detention personnel who allegedly stripped most of his clothes away and interrogated him while he was blindfolded and bound.

Italian Prime Minister-elect Romano Prodi [BBC profile, campaign website, in Italian], who recently defeated incumbent Silvio Berlusconi, has yet to comment publicly on the Nasr case but Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli [official profile] said last month that the Italian government would not validate Milan prosecutor Armando Spataro's request [JURIST report] to extradite from the US the 22 CIA agents allegedly responsible for the events leading to Nasr's incarceration and abuse. Knight Ridder has more.

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