Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr
|Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr|
|Other name(s)||Abu Omar|
18 March 1963 |
Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (Arabic: حسن مصطفى أسامة نصر Ḥassan Muṣṭafā Usāmah Naṣr) (born 18 March 1963), also known as Abu Omar, is an Egyptian cleric. In 2003 he was living in Milan, Italy, from where he was kidnapped and allegedly later tortured in Egypt. This "Imam rapito affair" prompted a series of investigations in Italy, culminating in the criminal convictions (in absentia) of 22 CIA operatives, a U.S. Air Force colonel, and two Italian accomplices.
Early life 
He is a member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Islamic organisation dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government. The group has been linked to the murder of Anwar Sadat in 1981 and a terrorist campaign in the 1990s that culminated in the November 1997 Luxor massacre. As a result it is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. After the Egyptians declared the group illegal, Nasr sought asylum in Italy.
Abduction by the CIA 
On February 17, 2003, Nasr was abducted by CIA agents as he walked to his mosque in Milan for noon prayers, thus becoming an effective ghost detainee. He was later transported to a prison in Egypt where, he states, he was tortured.
In April 2004, while his incarceration had been downgraded to house arrest, Nasr placed several phone calls from Egypt to his family and friends. He told them he had been rendered into the hands of Egypt's SSI at Tura prison, twenty miles south of Cairo. He said he had been subjected to various depredations, tortured by beating and electric shocks to the genitals, raped,  and eventually had lost hearing in one ear. At the time of the calls he had been released on the orders of an Egyptian judge because of lack of evidence. Shortly after those calls were made he was re-arrested and placed back in prison.
Nasr's case has been qualified by Swiss senator Dick Marty as a "perfect example of extraordinary rendition". On 4 November 2009, an Italian judge convicted in absentia 22 CIA agents, a U.S. Air Force (USAF) colonel and two Italian secret agents of the kidnap. Eight other American and Italian defendants were acquitted. USAF Lieutenant Colonel Joseph L. Romano, at the time of the conviction commander of the 37th Training Group of the 37th Training Wing, and 21 of the American defendants received five-year prison sentences. Former Milan CIA station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, received an eight year prison sentence. The convicts were also ordered to each pay 1 million Euros to Nasr and 500,000 Euros to Nasr's wife. These convictions have been viewed in the media as being largely symbolic as none of these individuals are currently in Italian custody, and the Italian government has declined to seek their extradition.
The abduction prompted a series of investigations and intrigues within the Italian intelligence community and criminal justice system; in the Italian press, these are collectively referred to as the Imam Rapito (or "kidnapped Imam") affair.
Release in February 2007 
On February 11, 2007, Nasr's lawyer Montasser el-Zayat confirmed that his client had been released and was now back with his family. After four years of detention, an Egyptian court ruled that his imprisonment was "unfounded."
He still could face arrest as a suspected terrorist and associate of terrorists if he returns to Italy. However, Nasr's lawyer has said that Nasr intends to return to Italy.
Document leak 
In 2010, diplomatic documents were leaked outlining pressure the United States used in an attempt to stop Italy from indicting the CIA agents who kidnapped Nasr. According to the documents, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi assured US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that he was "working hard to resolve the situation." Berlusconi also criticized Italy's judicial system as being "dominated by leftists".
See also 
- Sabrina De Sousa
- Montasser el-Zayat
- Human rights in Egypt
- Imam rapito affair
- Returnees from Albania
- Mark Zaid
Notes and references 
- "CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap". BBC News. November 4, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
- Wilkinson, T. and G. Miller. (2005). "Italy Says It Didn't Know of CIA Plan". The Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2005.
- "Parla l'avvocato di Abu Omar "L'imam sarà liberato a giorni"". Repubblica.it. 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
- ABU OMAR: "IN EGITTO FUI STUPRATO, BERLUSCONI LO SAPPIA", La Repubblica, (Italian)
- Grey, S. and D. Van Natta. (2005). "In Italy, Anger at U.S. Tactics Colors Spy Case". The New York Times, June 26, 2005.
- CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap BBC
- Barry, Colleen (Associated Press), "Italy convicts Air Force O-6 in CIA kidnap case", Military Times, November 4, 2009.
- Egypt releases 'rendition' cleric, BBC, 12 February 2007
- International Herald Tribune, February 16, 2007, Italy indicts 31 linked to CIA rendition case (English)
- ""US Pressured Italy to Influence Judiciary", ''Der Spiegel''". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
- A lot more information on Abu Omar and controversy in Italy
- Rendition Cindy Sheehan? CIA Fugitive From Italy Justice Is Located
- CIA Ruse Is Said to Have Damaged Probe in Milan: Italy Allegedly Misled on Cleric's Abduction, Washington Post, 6 December 2005
- A Cleric's Journey, Washington Post, 6 December 2005
- Ex-Aviano officer won't comment on alleged abduction, Stars and Stripes, 10 December 2006
- Italy indicts 31 linked to CIA rendition case, International Herald Tribune, 15 February 2007
- Amnesty International interview.