MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian court sentenced the radical Egyptian Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in absentia on Friday to six years in prison for international terrorism, legal sources said.
The cleric, also known as Abu Omar, was abducted and secretly flown to Egypt for interrogation under the U.S. "extraordinary rendition" program in 2003.
Nasr's abduction led to the first trial of its kind against the "renditions" practiced by the administration of former U.S. president George W. Bush, which have been condemned by human rights groups as a violation of international agreements.
Under the program, the American CIA is alleged to have abducted terrorism suspects and flown them to countries where they could be tortured, a practice banned under international law.
Several ex-CIA agents involved in the kidnapping were tried in Italy in absentia and sentenced to between seven and nine years in jail. Italy was the first country to convict American nationals for their involvement in a rendition.
Nasr now lives in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, his lawyer Carmelo Scambia said. Nasr denied the charges, which included recruiting combatants for Iraq.
(Reporting by Sara Rossi, writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Kevin Liffey)