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Italy judge suspends CIA rendition trial again pending Constitutional Court ruling

[JURIST] The Italian judge presiding over the trial of 26 US CIA agents [JURIST news archive] and two former Italian intelligence officials in the 2003 abduction and rendition [JURIST news archive] of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday suspended the trial until March 12, 2008. Judge Oscar Magi ruled that the trial should not proceed until the Constitutional Court of Italy [official website] rules on a petition [JURIST report] filed by the Italian government to dismiss all charges against the defendants. The government alleges that the charges should be dismissed because the prosecution improperly used state secrets and wiretapping to build its case. Prosecutor Armando Spataro has argued that the court proceedings should continue and has denied using any state secrets.

On June 18, Judge Magi suspended the trial [JURIST report] until October 24 after hearing preliminary motions to postpone the trial until the high court's ruling. Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was seized on the streets of Milan by CIA agents with the help of Italy's Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [Wikipedia backgrounder]. He was then allegedly transferred to Egypt and turned over to Egypt's State Security Intelligence (SSI) [Wikipedia backgrounder], where he said he was tortured before being released [JURIST reports] in February 2007. AP has more.

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