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CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, European court rules

Khaled el-Masri

It’s official, what we knew all along has now being confirmed in a historic judgement by the European Court of Human Rights.

CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, European court rules

 (The Guardian)

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

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 Rightsunanimously 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 told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was “simply unacceptable”, he said.

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 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'”.

In January 2004, Macedonian police took him to a hotel in Skopje, where he was kept locked in a room for 23 days and questioned in English, despite his limited proficiency in that language, about his alleged ties with terrorist organisations, the court said in its judgment. His requests to contact the German embassy were refused. At one point, when he said he intended to leave, he was threatened with being shot.

“Masri’s treatment at Skopje Airport at the hands of the CIA rendition team – being severely beaten, sodomised, shackled and hooded, and subjected to total sensory deprivation – had been carried out in the presence of state officials of [Macedonia] and within its jurisdiction,” the court ruled.

It added: “Its government was consequently responsible for those acts performed by foreign officials. It had failed to submit any arguments explaining or justifying the degree of force used or the necessity of the invasive and potentially debasing measures. Those measures had been used with premeditation, the aim being to cause Mr Masri severe pain or suffering in order to obtain information. In the court’s view, such treatment had amounted to torture, in violation of Article 3 [of the European human rights convention].”

In Afghanistan, Masri was incarcerated for more than four months in a small, dirty, dark concrete cell in a brick factory near the capital, Kabul, where he was repeatedly interrogated and was beaten, kicked and threatened. His repeated requests to meet with a representative of the German government were ignored, said the court.

Masri was released in April 2004. He was taken, blindfolded and handcuffed, by plane to Albania and subsequently to Germany, after the CIA admited he was wrongy detained. The Macedonian government, which the court ordered must pay Masri €60,000 (£49,000) in compensation, has denied involvement in kidnapping.

UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, described the ruling as “a key milestone in the long struggle to secure accountability of public officials implicated in human rights violations committed by the Bush administration CIA in its policy of secret detention, rendition and torture”.

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  • Why were the Macedonians punished but not the Americans?

  • eslaporte

    Link to presentation of this court case at European Human rights court:

  • eslaporte


  • Reynardine

    Our then-senator, Bob Graham, published a book on his findings, called “Intelligence Matters”. When forced to suppress his findings, he indicated how much he was forced to suppress: his ineloquence is therefore most eloquent.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance
  • Wanderer

    State-sponsored RAPE.

  • Pingback: So Much for the The Sovereignty of Nations: CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, human rights court rules (1) | A Spoonful of Suga()

  • eslaporte

    We have a problem with the “war on terror” and it being extended into areas where it has more of a political function than a security one. Our passenger aviation security and mindless “partnerships” of other nations (like Canada) with the US and its “no fly list.” Read through these stories and see that at our airports it’s not about “keeping terrorists off of airplanes” – but preventing certain people with certain political views from traveling. As you read through these stories on the restriction of freedom of movement of these people, think about the Soviet Union.

  • eslaporte

    This type of behavior is actually anti-American!

  • eslaporte

    I do also – but when I also spoke against this when it came out – I was called “anti-American” – as if I as an American should support this kind of behavior to be regarded as “patriotic.” This type of behavior by the CIA is really what is anti-American.

  • eslaporte

    Yes – torture, rape and murder go on in American prisons and jails. That especially includes the liberal use of solidarity confinement.

  • eslaporte

    THIS is one of the reasons why I favor an independent-from-NATO defense and security system for Europe. Part of the problem is that many European countries and their leaders believe that they have too much invested in a relationship with the US. There is too much “good will” that America itself has built up.There is continued belief that “America is our protector and let’s not bite that hand.”

    Another problem is the fear of being called “anti-American” for speaking up against this kind of American behaviour in European counties.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    Why should you be surprised It goes on at home as well
    I was shocked both by what goes on plus the fact that the land of the free has 3 million people in jail .
    Sir David

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    Thanks for that link . I was impressed at the stance of John McCain on this issue

  • mindy1

    I wonder how this can be prevented in the future-I want real terror suspects to be interrogated, but this is too much, and is against our constitution(I think)

  • Pingback: | Rendition blues: CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, rules ECtHR! | | truthaholics()

  • Reynardine
  • Reynardine

    As an American, I own this. As a citizen, I am glad this has been exposed. As a native of my country, I am profoundly ashamed that it happened at all.

  • Chameleon_X

    State-sponsored torture. I am feeling a bit dumb right now. In spite of a lifetime of mandatory enrolment at USA University and thousands of hours of classes on freedom, democracy and the sacred inviolability of human rights at all those U.S. media madrassas, I am embarrassed to admit that I must have missed that invaluable lesson on torture. Can someone please point me to where I can find that lesson in the Federalist Papers or other writings of the Founding Fathers, in the Constitution, in Abraham’s Lincoln’s speeches, or in any other sacred American scripture?

    I did a little research of my own, and it seems that part of the problem is that we are not really supposed to use that “T” word anymore, based on an article that just came out today. Call me stupid again — sorry about that. Here is the ruling from Big Brother:

    And don’t forget the timeless wisdom of Big Brother, who teaches all of us what freedom, democracy and human rights are truly all about:


  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    This is disturbing to say the least but the joke is many in the neocon movement think this should be standard interrogation

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