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In a stiff rebuke from across the Atlantic to the policies of former US president George Bush, a judge in Milan yesterday sentenced 23 American citizens to up to eight years in prison for their part in the secret abduction of a Muslim cleric in 2003 and his rendition for questioning in Egypt, where he was imprisoned and tortured.
All but one of the 23 US citizens were identified by prosecutors in the three-year trial as members or former members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It was the first such trial of US citizens in a foreign nation related to the now widely discredited secret rendition activities by the CIA, part of Mr Bush's so-called "War on Terror".
He also acquitted the former head of Italy's military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari, and his deputy, citing issues of diplomatic immunity and inadmissibility of evidence protected by secrecy laws.