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July 17th, 2006 - U.S. Rejects German Prosecutor’s Request in CIA Abduction Case

News article by Bloomberg

Summary of the Al-Masri Kidnapping Case

U.S. Rejects German Prosecutor's Request in CIA Abduction Case



By Claudia Rach

July 17, 2006


July 17 (Bloomberg) -The U.S. turned down a German request for legal assistance over an alleged abduction by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of a German of Lebanese origin, the Justice Ministry in Berlin said.


“Legal assistance has been rejected with regard to the civil proceedings in the U.S.,'' the ministry's spokeswoman Eva Schmierer said in an interview today, pointing out that the U.S. “didn't take a stand on the context of the matter.'' The request was made by the Munich prosecutor's office.


A U.S. federal judge threw out Khaled el-Masri's lawsuit against the CIA on May 18, arguing that airing claims by el-Masri in court would mean disclosing confidential information. The suit, filed in December last year, said former CIA Director George Tenet and other agency officials authorized agents to kidnap el-Masri on Dec. 31, 2003.


El-Masri said he was seized while on holiday in Macedonia and transported to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan. There he was subjected to inhumane conditions and coercive interrogation before being released again, he said.


The Munich prosecutor's office said on Dec. 5, 2005, it had begun preliminary investigations into allegations el-Masri had been deprived of his liberty. The prosecutor asked justice authorities in Macedonia, Albania, the U.S. and Spain to confirm el-Masri's statement.


El-Masri's alleged abduction is also part of a German parliamentary inquiry set up on April 7 and which is also examining whether the BND Federal Intelligence Service provided intelligence to the U.S. at or around the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003; whether the Federal Criminal Police Office questioned terror suspects being held abroad; and the issue of alleged CIA flights carrying suspected terrorists through European airspace, a process known as extraordinary rendition.


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