Egyptian cleric claims CIA torture

Cleric kidnapped off the streets of Italy tells Al Jazeera he was savagely tortured.

    Nasr says he would sue Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister [EPA]


    Italy has indicted 26 Americans and five Italian agents accused of seizing Nasr in 2003.

    Nasr's case is the first criminal trial connected to the rendition policy, in which US agents secretly transferred terror suspects for interrogation to third countries where critics say they faced torture.

    He was released from an Egyptian prison on February 11 after four years in Egyptian custody.

    Nasr told Al Jazeera he would sue Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, for his responsibility in the abduction.

    He also said he would ask the US intelligence authorities to pay him compensations in cash for his suffering.

    Nasr, 44, did not discuss allegations he made last week that Egyptian authorities also tortured him while he was in prison.

    However, he told Al Jazeera that he had tried to commit suicide while in Egyptian custody.

    "Yes, this happened, but I didn't do this out of my own will because I know what a grave sin it is to kill oneself. But I was pushed to do it. I was in a situation where I wasn't able to distinguish between heaven and Earth," he said.


    Nasr had earlier expressed fears on Thursday that the Egyptian security services would arrest him for speaking out.

    Italian prosecutors say Nasr, suspected of recruiting fighters for Islamic causes, was kidnapped from the streets of Milan in February 2003 by CIA agents with help from Italian agents.

    He was allegedly taken to Aviano Air Base near Venice, Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany, and then to Egypt for interrogation.

    Italy has signalled it won't seek extradition of the 25 CIA agents and one US Air Force lieutenant colonel, but it will likely try them in absentia.

    The US state department said last week that the Bush administration has nothing more to say on Nasr's case.

    Nasr appealed on Sunday to the Italian courts to reveal the "secrets of this operation".

    Arrest warrant

    A prosecutor in Milan had issued an arrest warrant for him in April 2005 as part of a terrorism investigation.

    According to Italian officials, Nasr fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia, though Nasr's Egyptian lawyer has denied he visited those countries.

    Nasr has said he was innocent and wanted to return to Italy, where he was granted political asylum in 2001, four years after entering illegally.

    Italian prosecutor Armando Spataro said on Thursday that judicial authorities would like Nasr to testify in the case against the American and Italian agents.

    Egypt, a close US ally, has not responded to an Italian request for access to Nasr and kept silent over its role in the case.

    Nasr was freed in 2004 but was re-arrested three weeks later after he spoke to a journalist by phone.

    Egypt never officially acknowledged that he was in custody, but Ahmed Nazif, the country's prime minister, admitted in 2005 that "people have been sent" to Egypt, without saying how many.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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