Italian president reduces sentence of ex-CIA base chief in rendition case of Muslim cleric

Italy's president has shaved two years off the sentence of a former CIA base chief convicted in absentia in the 2003 extraordinary rendition abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect.

With the decree, announced Wednesday night by the presidential palace, President Sergio Mattarella reduced to seven from nine years Robert Seldon Lady's sentence. Mattarella also wiped out the three-year sentence handed down by a Milan court to another U.S. defendant convicted in absentia, Betnie Medero.

The palace said Italy's head of state above all took into consideration U.S. President Barack Obama's ending the practice of extraordinary renditions, which Italy and the European Union consider "incompatible with the fundamental principles of a State of law."

In all, 26 Americans were convicted in absentia in the Muslim cleric's kidnapping in Milan.