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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 18:46 GMT
Call to indict US agents in Italy
US military base of Aviano, northern Italy
The cleric was allegedly flown out of Italy from a US military base
Italian prosecutors have asked a judge to indict 26 CIA agents accused of kidnapping an Egyptian Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003 and sending him to Egypt.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, or Abu Omar, has claimed he was tortured in detention in Egypt after his abduction in Italy.

Prosecutors also asked the judge to indict Italian agents over the case.

If a trial is ordered, it would be the first criminal prosecution linked to the US policy of transferring terror suspects abroad for interrogation.

The policy - also known as "extraordinary rendition" - is one of the more controversial aspects of US President George W Bush's "war on terror".

Human rights groups say suspects have faced torture in some of the countries they have been sent to - a charge the US denies.

Extradition request

Prosecutor Armando Spataro said the indictment request targets CIA agents and their Italian counterparts allegedly involved in the kidnapping.

Ousted Sismi boss Nicolo Pollari
Nicolo Pollari and his aides are under investigation

Those named in the request include former CIA station chiefs in Rome and Milan.

The 26 US citizens listed are no longer believed to be resident in Italy.

The prosecutor also calls for the former chief of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari and his former deputy, Marco Mancini, to be indicted.

Mr Pollari was moved from office in November in what Prime Minister Romano Prodi said was part of the "natural rotation" of intelligence chiefs.

Prosecutors say Mr Hassan was abducted from a Milan street on 17 February 2003, and flown out of the country from Aviano air base north of Venice.

The Italian government has said it had no prior knowledge of the kidnap plot. It has yet to respond to a request that it ask Washington to extradite the US citizens named in the case.

Mr Hassan is believed to have arrived in Italy in 1997, where he was granted refugee status.

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