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Ex-Italian Spy Chief Denies Involvement in Alleged CIA Kidnapping


The former head of Italian military intelligence has denied any role in the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric by suspected U.S. agents in Milan.

Nicolo Pollari was speaking Wednesday at a Milan court where he is on trial for allegedly helping the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency kidnap the Egyptian, Abu Omar. Pollari also told the court that documents proving his innocence are classified.

Prosecutors accuse CIA agents of abducting Omar in Milan and transferring him to Egypt, where he says he was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured.

Prosecutors believe Omar's abduction was part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program of seizing terrorist suspects overseas and transporting them to third countries for questioning.

Six other Italian defendants in the case also declared their innocence in court Wednesday. But, they refused to answer prosecutors' questions about the kidnapping, citing state secrecy laws.

Other defendants include 25 CIA agents and a U.S. air force colonel, who are being tried in absentia. Italy's government has declined to seek their extradition and has tried to have the case dismissed as a threat to national security.

The CIA has refused to comment on the trial.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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