Macedonia aided CIA in torture, abuse
CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling and beating him as Macedonian state police looked on, the European Court of Human Rights has said in a historic judgment released yesterday.
In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.
Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA “rendition team” at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.
It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.
“The grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process and inhuman and degrading treatment,” said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
He described the judgment as “an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror”. It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he said. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was “simply unacceptable”.
Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union described the ruling as “a huge victory for justice and the rule of law”.
The Strasbourg court said it found Mr Masri’s account of what happened to him “to be established beyond reasonable doubt” and that Macedonia had been “responsible for his torture and ill-treatment both in the country itself and after his transfer to the US authorities in the context of an extra-judicial ‘rendition’.”– (Guardian service)