Ex-CIA Chief Wanted for Rendition of Muslim Cleric Detained in Panama

Former CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady was arrested Thursday in Panama, after surfacing in the Central American country years after being convicted by an Italian court for the abduction of a Muslim cleric in the first-of-its-kind ruling against the CIA practice of extraordinary rendition.

In 2009, Lady was convicted along with 22 other Americans for the abduction of Egyptian imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar. At the time, the Americans were all tried in absentia after the United States refused to extradite them.

Omar—a resident of Italy at the time—was grabbed off the street in Milan in 2003 and secretly flown to Egypt, where he says he was tortured and held until 2007 without charge.

Last fall, an Italian appeals court upheld the conviction. Former Milan station chief Lady was sentenced to nine years in prison and the other 22 former CIA agents were sentenced to five years each.