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Egyptian Cleric Wants to Return to Italy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, (AP) – An Egyptian cleric allegedly kidnapped by CIA agents off the streets of an Italian city and taken to Egypt said Thursday he was tortured in an Egyptian prison and that he wants to return to Italy.

Osama Hassan Mustafa Nasr, known as Abu Omar, made his first public appearance since he was released from Egyptian custody last week, showing up by surprise at the trial of a blogger accused of insulting Islam.

“I was subjected to the worst kind of torture in Egyptian prisons. I have scars of torture all over my body,” Nasr told journalists at the court in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. He showed dark scars on his wrists and ankles that he said were from electrical shocks by Egyptian interrogators.

Italian prosecutors say Nasr was kidnapped from the streets of Milan in February 2003 by CIA agents with help from Italian agents. Last week, Italy indicted 25 American CIA agents and a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel for the alleged kidnapping in the first criminal case involving the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.

After his abduction, Nasr was allegedly taken to Aviano Air Base near Venice, Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany, and then to Egypt for interrogation. He was held for four years, until he was freed by an Egyptian court that ruled his detention was “unfounded.”

According to Italian officials, the cleric fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia and was suspected of recruiting fighters for radical Islamic causes. But Nasr’s Egyptian lawyer Montasser al-Zayat has said Nasr had only traveled to Jordan, Yemen, Albania and Germany before entering Italy illegally in 1997.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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