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Milan court convicts Italy spy chief for role in CIA extraordinary rendition

A Milan appeals court on Tuesday sentenced Niccolo Pollari, the former Italian spy chief, to 10 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of a terror suspect as part of the US Central Intelligence Agency [official website] (CIA) extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] program. Egyptian cleric and terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr was kidnapped in Milan in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation as part of the US practice of transporting suspects to countries known to employ torture techniques. Pollari was head of the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI [official website] during this time. The court awarded [Reuters report] one million euros in damages to Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, but Pollari is expected to appeal the decision to Italy's highest court, according to his lawyer. Pollari's former deputy Marco Mancini was also sentenced Tuesday to nine years.

Earlier this week a Milan appeals court convicted three Americans [JURIST report] for their role in Nasr's kidnapping and rendition. Due to diplomatic immunity, all three men had been acquitted in the previous trial where the Milan court convicted [JURIST report] 23 former CIA agents. Last September Italy's highest court upheld the convictions [JURIST report] of the 23 former CIA agents, whose sentences had been increased [JURIST report] in December 2010 by an Italian appeals court. Judge Oscar Magi of the Fourth Chamber of the Court of Milan [official website, in Italian] originally convicted [JURIST report] the 23 men in November 2009. The nearly three-year trial was delayed many times, and was the first in the world involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition flights.

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