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Italy court upholds convictions of 23 American CIA agents in kidnap case

Italy's highest criminal court upheld the convictions of 23 Americans, mostly CIA agents, in connection to the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric.

Italy upholds cia convictions in muslim cleric kidnap case september 19 2012Enlarge
Abu Omar and his lawyer, in Milan, on June 8, 2007. Italy's highest court upheld the convictions of 23 Americans, mostly CIA agents, in connection with Abu Omar's kidnapping in 2003. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy's highest criminal court upheld the convictions of 23 Americans in connection with the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric, according to the Associated Press.

The cleric, an Egyptian terror suspect, was targeted as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, which involved the CIA allegedly abducting terror suspects and transferring them to countries where torture is permitted, said the AP.

The BBC noted that all but one of the 23 Americans are CIA agents. They were found guilty in absentia of abducting the cleric, known as Abu Omar, in Milan in 2003. He was allegedly flown to Egypt and then tortured.

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Reuters said Italy's highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, also ruled that five senior Italian secret service agents should be put on trial for their role in the kidnapping.

The 23 Americans now risk arrest if they travel to Europe, said the AP. The final verdict could also mean the Italian government would seek their extradition.

"It went badly. It went very badly," said Alessia Sorgato, a lawyer for the Americans.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/120919/italy-court-upholds-convictions-23-american-cia-agents-kid