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Berlusconi testimony sought in defense of Italy ex-spy chief in CIA rendition case

[JURIST] Lawyers for former Italian Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [official website] chief Nicolo Pollari said Wednesday that they have included Italian Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile] as a requested witness to testify in support of Pollari's assertion that he was not involved in a reported 2003 CIA kidnapping [JURIST news archive; WP timeline] case. Pollari was charged [JURIST report] in 2006 in connection with the kidnapping and rendition of Egyptian cleric Moustafa Hassan Nasr. Defense lawyers hope Berlusconi and other Italian officials will testify [Reuters report] that classified government documents prove that Pollari was not involved in the kidnapping. Judgment on whether to allow the testimony is scheduled for May 14. AP has more.

The Italian cabinet relieved Pollari of his duties [JURIST report] as SISMI head in November 2006. Pollari has denied allegations [JURIST report] that he assisted the CIA with the extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of Nasr. Pollari, another SISMI official and 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, are being tried for their role in Nasr's alleged kidnapping. Proceedings against the Americans are being conducted in absentia as the US is not expected to hand them over.

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