The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Italy for what it says was the “abduction” of an Egyptian Imam by the CIA from a Milan street in 2003.
“The Court found it established that the Italian authorities were aware that the applicant had been a victim of an extraordinary rendition operation which had begun with his abduction in Italy and had continued with his transfer abroad,” it said in a statement.
The court also ruled that “the legitimate principle of ‘state secrecy’ had clearly been applied by the Italian executive in order to ensure that those responsible did not have to answer for their actions”.
It added: “The investigation and trial had not led to the punishment of those responsible, who had therefore ultimately been granted impunity.”
The ECHR ordered Italy to pay 70,000 euros to the Imam, saying national authorities had “knowingly exposed him to a real risk” of treatment contrary to anti-torture laws.
Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who had been granted political asylum by Italian authorities, was kidnapped by US officials in 2003 while walking down a street in Milan.
After being taken from Milan to Egypt, via US air bases in Italy and Germany, he was held for four years without a trial before being released.