Italian judge suspends trial on U.S. counterterrorism practice

The Baltimore Sun

ROME -- The first trial involving one of the Bush administration's most controversial counterterrorism practices was put on hold yesterday by an Italian judge who decided to await a higher court's ruling on challenges to the case.

The decision was a setback for prosecutors attempting to try 26 Americans, many of them CIA agents, for snatching a radical Muslim cleric off the streets of Milan in 2003 and transporting him to his native Egypt, where he has said he was tortured.

The Americans are being tried in absentia in the case that has focused a spotlight on the practice known as "extraordinary rendition," in which terror suspects are captured by U.S. agents in a foreign country and transported to a third, where they are interrogated.

Judge Oscar Magi suspended the trial, which began in Milan 10 days ago, until Oct. 24 to allow the Constitutional Court, Italy's highest, to rule on challenges brought by the Italian government and defense lawyers.

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