His defense lawyer is shocked.
The Italian government has granted political asylum to a former imam of Milan's central mosque who was recently jailed on terrorism charges, unnamed sources in the interior ministry have told Adnkronos. Radical preacher Abu Imad was arrested in April after Italy's top appeals court upheld a previous sentence and jailed him for 44 months.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
Egyptian-born Imad was granted asylum 15 days after the Court of Cassation ruling. An earlier request was turned down.
A member of the Muslim community in Italy's Lombardy surrounding Milan, Muhammad Rida al-Badri, said Italian authorities had granted asylum to Imam, who is reportedly close to Egypt's Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, to prevent him being extradited to Egypt as Cairo had requested.
"Abu Imad first asked for political asylum in Italy 17 years ago," said al-Badri.
"He has now been given political asylum because they want to keep him in jail in Italy for several reasons, and one of these is to avoid any criticism from the European Union that he should be handed over to Egypt."
Imad and his co-defendants had allegedly set up a Salafite cell that was active in Milan and elsewhere in the northern Lombardy region.
The cell's mission is believed to have been recruiting suicide bombers, trafficking illegal immigrants and indoctrination.
Source: AKI (English)