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Amnesty International Responds to Italy’s Court of Appeals Decision re the Involvement of U.S. and Italian Agents in the Abduction of Abu Omar

WASHINGTON - Julia Hall, an Amnesty International counter-terrorism and human rights in Europe expert, issued the following statement in response to the Italian appeals court's decision to increase the sentences against 23 Americans convicted in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect, Abu Omar, who was part of the CIA's extraordinary renditions program.

"The appeals court's recognition that Abu Omar suffered a grave injustice at the hands of U.S. and Italian intelligence actors is another step in the effort to seek accountability in Europe for abuses in the context of the CIA rendition and secret detention program

"Abu Omar was snatched off a Milan street and spirited away without any due process at all. That was the first step in his alleged rendition, secret detention, and torture in Egypt. The Italian courts have acknowledged that the chain of events leading to such serious abuses cannot go unanswered.

"The Italian government and its officials should not be able to use 'state secrecy' as a shield to cover up human rights abuses. The government must engage in a full and fair accountability process even if its officials are embarrassed or even vulnerable to criminal charges for their actions. Kidnapping is a crime, not a 'state secret'."

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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