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Italian Judge Sentences Former CIA Agents In Renditions Case

An Italian judge has sentenced 23 former CIA agents in absentia to up to eight years in jail for the abduction of a Muslim cleric in 2003.

The CIA's Milan station chief at the time was sentenced to eight years in prison, and the other Americans to five years. The American suspects were tried in absentia and are considered fugitives. Two Italian secret agents were also given three-year prison terms.

The trial was the first by any government over the Central Intelligence Agency's extraordinary rendition program, which transferred suspects overseas for interrogation.

The agents were found guilty of kidnapping cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr in February 2003. He was abducted on a street in Milan, then transferred to U.S. bases in Italy and Germany.

Nasr was later transferred to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He was released after four years in detention without being charged.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the United States is "disappointed" with the convictions.

compiled from agency reports