Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr
|Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr|
|Other names||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 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, as well as Nasr, himself.
He is a member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Islamic organisation that was formerly dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government; the group has committed to peaceful means following the coup that toppled Mohamed Morsi. 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 17 February 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", and in Italy prompted a series of investigations and intrigues within the Italian intelligence community and criminal justice system collectively referred to as the Imam Rapito (or "kidnapped Imam") affair in the Italian press.
Convictions of CIA agents and others
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.
Former Milan CIA station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, received an eight year prison sentence. 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. Those convicted were also ordered to each pay 1 million Euros to Nasr and 500,000 Euros to Nasr's wife.
In 2010, leaked diplomatic documents revealed the efforts the United States used in an attempt to stop Italy from indicting the CIA agents, and that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi assured US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that he was "working hard to resolve the situation" but that the Italy's judicial system was "dominated by leftists".
In July 2013, Robert Seldon Lady was initially detained in Panama at the request of Italian authorities, but then released and allowed to board a flight to the United States.
Release in February 2007
On 11 February 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."
Conviction in Italy
In 2003, Nasr was convicted in absentia of terrorism by an Italian court for offenses before his abduction. Egypt had not responded to Italian requests to extradite or even interview Nasr for the trial.
- Sabrina De Sousa
- Human rights in Egypt
- Imam rapito affair
- Khalid El-Masri
- Returnees from Albania
- Mark Zaid
- Montasser el-Zayat
Notes and references
- "CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap". BBC News. November 4, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
- Italy convicts abducted Egypt cleric Abu Omar, BBC News, 6 December 2013
- "Jama’a al-Islamiya rejects Assem Abdel Magued". Egypt Independent. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, COUNCIL DECISION of 21 December 2005 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism
- 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.
- "Italian court finds CIA agents guilty of kidnapping terrorism suspect", 4 November 2009, John Hooper, The Guardian
- "Italy Convicts 23 Americans for C.I.A. Renditions", November 4, 2009, New York Times
- ""US Pressured Italy to Influence Judiciary", ''Der Spiegel''". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
- "Panama releases former CIA operative wanted by Italy", July 20, 2013, The Washington Post
- Egypt releases 'rendition' cleric, BBC, 12 February 2007
- International Herald Tribune, February 16, 2007, Italy indicts 31 linked to CIA rendition case (English)
- 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.