Sunday, 31 October 2010

European Court Considering CIA Rendition

The European Court of Human Rights is considering a case involving the extraordinary rendition programme operated by the CIA. The case involves A german citizen, Khaled El-Masri, and is filed against Macedonia.
According to the Justice Initiative of the Open Society Institute, in December 2003  Macedonian security forces seized Khaled El-Masri at the request of the United States and held him—incommunicado—for 23 days. El-Masri was then handed over to the CIA and flown to a detention center in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was confined in appalling conditions, interrogated, and abused. After several months, El-Masri was finally released and dumped on a roadside in Albania.
The case has been ‘communicated’, a very preliminary stage but one that most applications to the European Court do not surmount. Macedonia must answer specific questions about the application by El-Masri. Next, the Court will consider whether to actually hear the case. The Justice Initiative explains:
With this case, the European Court has gone beyond the U.S. judiciary in responding to the torture and abuse associated with unlawful rendition. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to revisit an appellate court’s ruling that the state secrets privilege required dismissal of El-Masri’s case. The U.S. has never publicly acknowledged rendering El-Masri. Despite overwhelming evidence of its collaboration, to date Macedonia has also denied that El-Masri was detained illegally on its territory or handed over to the CIA.
National investigations related to El-Masri’s rendition are said to be ongoing in Germany and Spain. Poland, Lithuania, and the UK are also engaged in investigations about extraordinary rendition more broadly.

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