Italy: Ex-CIA Milan Chief Detained in Panama

ROME (AP) -

A former CIA base chief in Italy who was convicted in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect from a street in Milan has been detained in Panama, the Italian justice ministry said Thursday.

An Italian official familiar with Italy’s investigation and prosecution of Robert Seldon Lady said the former CIA official entered Panama, traveled to Costa Rica, and that officials there then sent him back to Panama where he was detained. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because only Italy’s justice ministry was publicly discussing the case.

The CIA said it had no immediate comment about its former employee.

Lady was sentenced by an Italian appeals court in Milan earlier this year in the extraordinary rendition case to nine years in prison after being tried in absentia in Italy for the kidnapping of the Muslim cleric. The trials of Lady, 59, now retired from the CIA, and two other Americans in the case brought the first convictions anywhere in the world against agents involved in the agency’s extraordinary rendition program, a practice alleged to have led to torture.

The terror suspect, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was abducted in February 2003, transferred to U.S. military bases, first in Italy, then in Germany, before being flown to Egypt.

The cleric alleged he was tortured in Egypt. He was later released.