MILAN: Lawyers for 26 Americans and seven Italians on trial for the alleged CIA kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect asked a Milan court on Wednesday to throw out the case.
The request is based on a March decision by Italy’s Constitutional Court, which threw out some key evidence, saying prosecutors used classified information to build the case.
The court also ruled that any testimony revealing details of joint operations between the CIA and Italy’s secret services was inadmissible.
The American suspects – all but one identified by prosecutors as CIA agents – are charged along with seven Italian agents in the disappearance of Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (also known as Abu Omar), allegedly kidnapped on a Milan street in 2003 as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.
Abu Omar was transferred to a high-security prison outside Cairo, where he was held for four years. After his release in February 2007, he told of torture and humiliation during his incarceration.
His seizure was thought to be among scores of secret abductions around the world since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The trial is the first in Europe into the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “extraordinary rendition program involving the secret transfers of terrorism suspects to third countries known to practice torture.
Italy’s government denies any role in the operation. The Americans are being tried in absentia and the CIA has declined to comment on the case.
Prosecutors were expected to argue later Wednesday that the trial should continue. It was not immediately clear when the court would rule on the defense’s request.
The trial was delayed for months while Italy’s Constitutional Court ruled over the conduct of the probe.
Both sides claimed victory last month when the top court ruled that state secrets had been violated in the probe, but prosecutor Armando Spataro said the ruling referred only to documents not crucial to the prosecution’s case. -Agencies