(ANSA) - Rome, September 12 - The CIA's former top spy in
Milan has requested a pardon from Italy for his role in the 2003
abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr under the
controversial U.S. "extraordinary rendition" program, claiming
that Italian officials were involved.
Robert Seldon Lady, former CIA Milan station chief, was
among 22 CIA agents whose convictions were upheld in Italy's top
court of appeals, the Cassation Court, last September for
kidnapping Nasr in the world's first judicial examination of the
controversial US practice in the so-called war on terror during
the administration of president George W. Bush.
In his written appeal for clemency to Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano, Lady said that the abduction took place
"following orders from US officials" but was "in collaboration
with high-ranking members of the Italian government".
He also stressed that the US gave "millions of dollars" to
Italy to fight al-Qaeda, which helped "stop many terrorist
Lady, who was sentenced in absentia to nine years in the
case, faced extradition in July when he was detained by
Panamanian police for irregularities regarding an entry fee into
Costa Rica and handed over to Interpol.
But authorities in Panama, which does not have an
extradition agreement with Italy, released him in the same day
and he flew back to the US, which, according to Milan prosecutor
Ferdinando Pomarici, was "exerting pressure in all directions".
(photo: Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr)