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Friday, February 16, 2007

Italy: 26 Americans indicted in CIA case

An Italian judge indicted 25 suspected CIA agents and a US Air Force lieutenant-colonel in the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric who had been under investigation for recruiting Islamist fighters

Friday's indictment paves the way for Italy to put the Americans, along with five Italians, on trial in June in the first criminal case involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.

The Americans have all left Italy, and it is unlikely that they would be turned over for prosecution, even if Italy requests their extradition, a move that would strain relations between Rome and Washington.

All but one of the Americans have been identified as CIA agents, including the former Milan station chief Robert Seldon Lady and former Rome station chief Jeffrey Castelli. The other is Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph L. Romano III, who was stationed at the time at Aviano.

Prosecutors believe that many of the American names in the indictment are aliases.

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