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US Will Not Extradite CIA Agents to Italy


A senior U.S. legal official says the United States will refuse any Italian extradition request for CIA agents indicted on charges of a role in the abduction of an Egyptian cleric and terrorist suspect.

John Bellinger, legal advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, spoke Wednesday in Brussels, after meeting with European Union legal officials.

A Milan judge earlier this month ordered 26 U.S. intelligence agents and six Italians to stand trial in June in the kidnapping of cleric Abu Omar (also known as Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr). Omar said he was grabbed from a Milan street and flown to Egypt, where he was tortured.

A European Parliament report earlier this month concluded that similar abductions had gone on with the collusion of several European governments.

Bellinger rejected those findings today, calling the report "unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair."

The United States has acknowledged the secret transfer of terrorist suspects to third countries, but Washington denies sanctioning torture.