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Former Italian Military Intelligence Chief to Appear in CIA Kidnap Hearing

Italy's former military intelligence chief is due to appear in a Milan court Monday, for a preliminary hearing in connection with the kidnapping four years ago of an Egyptian terror suspect.

Italian prosecutors are seeking to indict Nicolo Pollari for allegedly helping American CIA agents abduct Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (also known as Abu Omar) from a Milan street in February 2003. They say Nasr was then flown to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

Pollari has denied any prior knowledge of the CIA's controversial practice of transferring suspects to a third country, known as "extraordinary rendition."

Five other Italian security officers accused of aiding in the kidnapping, and 26 Americans, also are facing possible charges. All but one of the Americans are thought to be CIA agents.

The government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi is considering a request from prosecutors for extradition warrants against the Americans.

Nasr is believed to have been kidnapped under the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, in which terror suspects are captured and taken for questioning to a third country, including those with lower standards regarding the treatment of prisoners.

Detainees in Egypt have frequently alleged they were tortured.

International human rights groups have expressed concern about the possible torture of rendition detainees. President Bush has denied the allegation, and he has defended extraordinary rendition as legal under international law.

Last week, the Canadian government officially apologized to a Syrian-born citizen detained by the United States and deported to Syria after he was wrongly identified as a suspected terrorist. The man, Mahar Arar, says he was imprisoned and tortured for a year before being freed. Canada has since cleared him of all links to terrorism.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .