Ruling: German tortured by CIA
Man says he was mistaken for terrorism suspect.
PARIs — A European court issued a landmark ruling Thursday that condemned the CIA’s socalled extraordinary renditions programs and bolstered those who say they were illegally kidnapped and tortured as part of an overzealous war on terrorism.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a German car salesman was a victim of torture and abuse, in a long-awaited victory for a man who had failed for years to get courts in the United States and Europe to recognize him as a victim.
Khaled El-Masri says he was kidnapped from Macedonia in 2003, mistaken for a terrorism suspect, then held for four months and brutally interrogated at an Afghan prison known as the “Salt Pit” run by the CIA. He says that once U.S. authorities realized he was not a threat, they illegally sent him to Albania and left him on a mountainside.
The European court, based in France, ruled that El-Masri’s account was “established beyond reasonable doubt.”
It said the government of Macedonia violated El-Masri’s rights repeatedly and ordered it to pay $78,500 in damages.
Macedonia’s Justice Ministry said it would pay ElMasri.
U.S. officials have long since closed internal investigations into the El-Masri case, and the administration of President Barack Obama has distanced itself from some counterterrorism activities conducted under former U.S. President George W. Bush.