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CIA kidnapping trial suspended in Italy

world Updated: Jun 19, 2007 17:25 IST
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A trial on the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in Milan, allegedly by the CIA, has been suspended to allow time for the supreme constitutional court to rule on whether prosecutors overstepped their constitutional bounds.

The trial into one of the US' most controversial anti-terrorism practices, which was suspended on Monday, will now not resume until at least October 24, media reported.

No date has been set for the high court's decision on the government's contention that the prosecutors should not have sought the extradition of the American agents, and thus revealed their identity.

However, on September 26, discussions will begin at the court on whether a counter-motion from prosecutors is admissible.

On trial are 26 CIA agents and the former top two spies in Italian Military Intelligence Service (SISMI) who were allegedly involved in the 2003 "extraordinary rendition" of a Muslim cleric.

Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr, the former head of Milan's main mosque, disappeared from the northern city on Feb 17, 2003.

Prosecutors say he was snatched by a team of CIA operatives with SISMI's help and taken via Germany to Egypt to be interrogated.

The US admits renditions but denies torture.

Nasr, who is also known as Abu Omar, was recently released from an Egyptian jail where he says he was tortured and threatened with rape.