Friday, October 15, 2010

Macedonia's role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition

European Court Will Review Macedonia's Role in Extraordinary Rendition

U.S. Must Hold Government Officials Accountable for Bush-Era Torture, Says ACLU

October 14, 2010 - The European Court of Human Rights announced it will review Macedonia's role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition and torture of innocent German citizen Khaled El-Masri. As part of a case brought by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Macedonian government will be called on to answer questions about its involvement in the abuse of El-Masri, who was kidnapped from Macedonia and transported to a secret prison in Afghanistan where he was held for several months and tortured before being dumped on a hillside in Albania.

The American Civil Liberties Union brought a case in the U.S. on El-Masri's behalf in 2005, charging that former CIA director George Tenet violated U.S. and universal human rights laws when he authorized agents to abduct and abuse El-Masri. Lower courts dismissed the lawsuit on state secrecy grounds, and in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. In 2008, the ACLU filed a petition on El-Masri's behalf against the United States with the Inter-American Commission, but the government has failed to respond. To date, no top U.S. officials have been held accountable for their role in the Bush administration torture program.

The following can be attributed to Steven Watt, a staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program: {read rest}

Macedonia called to account over extraordinary rendition case

European human rights court tells Macedonia it has case to answer after German citizen Khaled al-Masri seized at request of CIA in 2003

Khaled El-Masri has taken his case to the European court of human rights. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

14 October 2010 - The European court of human rights has for the first time told a state it has a case to answer over the CIA's practice of seizing terror suspects and subjecting them to mistreatment in secret jails.

It has called Macedonia to account for seizing Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen, at the request of the US in December 2003 and held him incommunicado for 23 days. Masri was handed over to the CIA and flown to a detention centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was confined in what have been described as appalling conditions, interrogated and abused.

Four months later, Masri was flown by the CIA to a base in Albania where he was dumped on a roadside.

The case against Macedonia, which has become the first government called to account by an international court for its collaboration with the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme, was brought by the Open Society Justice Initiative, an independent New York foundation supported by George Soros. {read rest}

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