[JURIST] Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [JURIST news archive], who was kidnapped in Milan as part of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] extraordinary rendition program [JURIST news archive], was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday by an Italian court after being convicted in absentia of terror charges. Under the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, terrorism suspects were seized and flown to secret locations outside the US for interrogation and imprisonment. Nasr, who had been under investigation in Italy for terrorist activity, was abducted from Milan in 2003 and sent to Egypt. The proceedings against Nasr were interrupted by his abduction, and were resumed in May after he resurfaced in Egypt, where he remains today. Friday’s conviction found him guilty of criminal association with the goal of terrorism, aiding illegal emigration with the goal of terrorism, and organizing false documents to bring recruited individuals to Islamic terror camps. As Nasr is not permitted to travel outside Egypt, it is unlikely he will ever travel to Italy to serve his six-year sentence.
The revelation of the rendition of Nasr and others has resulted in strong criticism, with some describing the rendition program as a “self-inflicted wound” [JURIST op-ed]. In October the European Parliament [official website] chastised [JURIST report] EU member states’ complicity with the CIA’s rendition program, stating that the program has led to violations of fundamental rights and must end immediately. In 2012, the Italian Court of Cassation [official website, in Italian] upheld the 2009 convictions in absentia of 23 CIA officers for their involvement in Nasr’s kidnapping and rendition, and their subsequent increase in sentence [JURIST reports] in 2010 by an Italian intermediate appellate court.