American wanted by Italy in rendition case arrested in Panama
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
- Robert Seldon Lady was CIA's Milan base chief, prosecutors say
- He was convicted in absentia in 2009 of abducting terrorism suspect
- Former CIA official says Lady is no longer with the agency
Rome (CNN) -- One of the 23 Americans whom an Italian court convicted in absentia of kidnapping a terrorism suspect in 2003 has been arrested in Panama on an Italian arrest warrant, the Italian justice ministry's press office said Thursday.
The ministry identified the arrested man as Robert Seldon Lady, who Italian prosecutors said had been the CIA base chief in Milan.
In a 2009 trial, an Italian court convicted Lady and 22 others of abducting Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, or Abu Omar, from the streets of Milan in 2003.
The trial was the first to deal with a practice that human rights groups call "extraordinary rendition." They say the United States has often transferred terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture.
Abu Omar, who was suspected of recruiting men to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and was under heavy surveillance by Italy's intelligence agency, was transferred to Egypt and tortured, Italian prosecutors said.
Italian prosecutors said Abu Omar was nabbed by a CIA team working with Italian officials.
A former senior CIA official said Lady is no longer with the CIA.
In the 2009 trial, the Italian court sentenced Lady to eight years in prison, prosecutor Armando Spataro said. The other Americans were sentenced to five years.
Each of the 23 Americans was ordered to pay 1 million euros (about $1.3 million) to Abu Omar, plus 500,000 euros to his wife.
But at the time, it seemed unlikely that the convictions would have much effect on the Americans, as none appeared at the trial and the Italian government did not ask for their extradition.
Washington has acknowledged making secret "rendition" transfers of terrorism suspects between countries but denies using torture or handing suspects over to countries that do.
CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.