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Italian Prosecutor Urges Prison for Americans in CIA Case

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An Italian prosecutor has urged a court in Milan to convict and sentence 26 U.S. intelligence operatives to prison terms of up to 13 years for their suspected roles in the 2003 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric.

The prosecutor, Armando Spataro, also asked the court to convict and sentence the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari, to the same prison term for his alleged role in the abduction. Pollari has denied involvement, and says evidence proving his innocence is contained in classified documents excluded from the case.

The trial is focusing on the case of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr (also known as Abu Omar), the Egyptian cleric and suspected terrorist authorities say was abducted in Milan and transferred to Egypt, where he says he was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured.

Defense arguments have yet to be heard. A verdict is expected later this year.

The trial is the first in any country to scrutinize the CIA's extraordinary renditions program, under which U.S. agents transferred terror suspects to third countries where they say they were interrogated and, in some cases, tortured.

The American defendants include 25 CIA agents and a military officer, all of whom are being tried in absentia. The Italian government has declined to seek their extradition and earlier tried to have the case dismissed on national security grounds.

The CIA has refused comment on the trial.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.