US will not extradite CIA agents to Italy for rendition trial

US will not extradite CIA agents to Italy for rendition trial

[JURIST] US Department of State Legal Adviser John Bellinger [official profile] said Wednesday the US will not honor any request by Italy to extradite CIA agents [JURIST reports] wanted for their alleged role in the February 17, 2003 abduction [JURIST news archive; WP timeline] and extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of alleged terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive]. Bellinger noted that no extradition request has been received from Italy but even if one was, the US would not comply. He further said the threat of criminal charges against the agents could harm cordial relations between the US and Italy.

Italian Judge Caterina Interlandi issued indictments [JURIST report] on February 16 for 31 US and Italian intelligence agents in connection with the kidnapping. Prosecutor Armando Spataro has alleged that 25 Americans working for the Central Intelligence Agency, one United States Air Force colonel, and five Italians from Italy's Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [official websites] colluded to kidnap Nasr from Milan. Nasr was then allegedly transferred to Egypt and turned over to Egypt's State Security Intelligence (SSI) [Wikipedia backgrounder], where he was allegedly tortured before being released [JURIST report] on February 12. The trial is slated to begin June 8. Spatero has said that if the US agents are not extradited, he will try the US agents in absentia [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.