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Victim of Torture and CIA Rendition Gets His First Day in Court — in Europe
Tomorrow, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Europe's top human rights court based in Strasbourg, France, will hear arguments in El-Masri v. "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Tomorrow's hearing marks the first case to come before the court against a European nation for complicity in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program.
The case was brought against Macedonia by the Open Society Justice Initiative on behalf of Khaled El-Masri. El-Masri, a German citizen, who was abducted by Macedonian authorities at a border crossing in December 2003 and held incommunicado for 23 days. He was then handed over to CIA operatives who drugged, hooded, and strip-searched him before putting him on a secret flight to Afghanistan where he was secretly held, tortured and abused for about four months, only for the U.S. government to realize that they had the wrong person. Instead of acknowledging their mistake and sending him back to Germany with an apology, CIA operatives put El-Masri on another secret flight and dumped him on a hill in Albania, leaving him to make his own way home to Germany.