Rul­ing: Ger­man tor­tured by CIA

Man says he was mis­taken for ter­ror­ism sus­pect.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Byan­gela Charlton as­so­ci­ated press

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.

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