Italy calls for arrest of Americans

Warrant issued for 13 U.S. citizens involved in kidnapping of Islamic cleric

Editorial Staff
June 30, 2005

Last week, an Italian judge ordered the arrest of 13 suspects who allegedly abducted an Islamic cleric in Milan in 2003 and then flew him to Syria for interrogation.

 

The 13 suspects are believed to be agents associated with the CIA and prosecutors claim that the kidnapping of Osama Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, was a clandestine operation based upon a controversial U.S. anti-terrorism policy known as “Extraordinary Rendition”.

 

An Egyptian woman witnessed the kidnapping that took place in a Muslim neighbourhood of Milan on February 17, 2003. She stated that Hassan was abducted by a group of men dressed as police officers while he was walking from his home to the mosque where he preached and that she saw him being forced into a vehicle.  As this was happening, he yelled for help in Arabic, she said.

 

The 42-year-old Hassan contacted his family after he was released last year and recounted that he had been tortured with electric shock while he was detained in Syria.

 

According to human rights organisations, under the Extraordinary Rendition program, terror suspects are deported to countries that are known to use torture tactics during interrogations, and which would otherwise be illegal within the U.S.

 

Italian authorities have now tracked down the suspected kidnappers, all of whom hold U.S. passports.  The Italian authorities are seeking their arrest, not only for perpetrating an illegal act that violates Italian sovereignty, but also because Osama Mustafa Hassan had been part of an Italian terrorist investigation that at the time was at the point of revealing important information on other suspects.

 

Hassan has again disappeared and a warrant has also been issued for his arrest.

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