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German CIA rendition victim sentenced to jail for assault
Photo: DPA

German CIA rendition victim sentenced to jail for assault

Published: 31 Mar 2010 16:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 Mar 2010 16:39 GMT+02:00

Khaled el-Masri, a Lebanese-born German citizen mistakenly abducted and tortured by people working for the CIA, has been sentenced to two years in jail for attacking the mayor of a Bavarian city.

A court on Tuesday said the traumatic events surround his so-called “extraordinary rendition” in 2004 did not lessen el-Masri’s transgression against the Mayor of Neu-Ulm on September 11, 2009.

It was then that the troubled man attacked Mayor Gerold Noerenberg in his office. El-Masri first punched his victim until he was cowering on the ground and then threw a chair at him. Since he was on parole for arson and assault offences in 2007, el-Masri will now be sent to prison.

“He is disturbed, disappointed, humiliated and bitter,” said el-Masri’s defence attorney Manfred Gnjidic, pointing out that it was no coincidence he attacked the mayor on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC. “A torture victim deserves help.”

But the presiding judge said the defendant deserved no special consideration for what he had been put through as an innocent casualty of the United States’ war on terror. A psychiatrist during the trial deemed el-Masri responsible for his actions, but noted his abduction had caused him great suffering.

“Do whatever you want,” a bearded el-Masri muttered as he was led out of the courtroom.

El-Masri claims he was abducted in Macedonia. After being handed over to the CIA and flown to Afghanistan, he says he was tortured and accused of collusion with the September 11 hijackers. He says he was held for four months before being released without any charges on a roadside in Albania.

The CIA has never acknowledged any role in el-Masri's ordeal.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:16 March 31, 2010 by michael4096
@MrNosey - So you kick a dog enough until he bites you and this proves he was really a violent dog and deserved the kicking?
17:18 March 31, 2010 by steamy pony
oh MrNosey, please switch brain and empathy on - this man was kidnapped, tortured and his life wrecked. Attacking anyone as he did is unacceptable, but it is so likely to be a result of what happened to him rather than being any grounds for justification of what was done to him.
18:16 March 31, 2010 by Bryan Conner
All three of you need to turn your brain on....this man "claims" that he was kidnapped by the CIA but a Sept. 2, 2006 Reuters report on the Masri case reports that an Islamic cultural center in Neu-Ulm that Masri was known to frequent "was shut down by Bavarian authorities last year for allegedly promoting hatred of Jews and Christians and supporting suicide attacks in Iraq." I doubt very seriously that this character is a nice and honest man. After over 6 years, he has been unable to prove his allegations true. I doubt that he is a victim of anything.
19:46 March 31, 2010 by Celeon
Hard to say wether he already had some screws loose before his beat 'em up holidays with the CIA but something is definitely broken up there in his head now.

His uncontrolled anger outbursts are propably the result of deep frustration and could turn even more ugly.

Hopefully he recieves some intense counceling during his two years.
22:59 March 31, 2010 by Frenemy
oh boo-freakin-hoo!! "torture victim" my ass...

¦quot;extraordinary rendition¦quot; that resulted in a f#cked up circadian rhythm, sh!tty food, minimal social interaction, and the theme song from Barney the bloody dinosaur being played 24/7...

(hmmm, actually, that doesn't sound much worse than a stay at your average hospital pediatrics ward)
23:25 March 31, 2010 by wxman
Maybe they weren't "mistaken".
23:42 March 31, 2010 by Prufrock2010
And maybe they were. We'll probably never know. But people who are the victims of torture may be inclined to act out antisocially if they survive the torture, which is yet another argument against the use of torture.

That is not to condone his conduct; merely to offer a possible explanation for it. Or maybe he's just a no-good piece of sh*t. All I know is that if I survived torture, as he claims, I would be a little hostile toward authority at the other end of the ordeal.
09:11 April 1, 2010 by So36
Well aren't you lot a bunch of hard boys. I'd like to see how you'd handle being kidnapped, incarcerated and tortured for doing nothing illegal. If you're all such opponents of the concept "innocent before proven guilty" perhaps you should move to Iran or China.
11:14 April 1, 2010 by freechoice
why the heck he hit the mayor?

has he got anything to do with the renditions?

did he sign off? LOL!
11:19 April 1, 2010 by michael4096
@Frenemy - you are quite right. What you are talking about doesn't require rendition.

So, if the guy was rendered, with all the costs associated, it was certainly for far worse.

But, the problem I see is that once every CIA-jock fancies himself as a Kiefer Sutherland look-a-like bending the rules to save the world, two nastie things happen:

- they get it wrong, which at best makes more enemies and at worse creates problems for others - as this case may, or may not, illustrate

- they undermine the confidence everybody should have in the justice system in general as this thread illustrates.
11:53 April 1, 2010 by snorge
We have a saying in the US - "You can put a monkey in a silk suit. But he is still a monkey". Seems to fit perfectly here. One doesn't get violent overnight. I'm sure this guy had something that warranted him being picked up. And now this...
15:22 April 1, 2010 by mixxim
The Germans gave him their passport so he thinks he can behave like a German? Sent him to the Munich S Bahn.
16:51 April 1, 2010 by Frenemy
@michael4096: IF this guy was truly rendered (with good reason) to one of these "fingernail-factory" countries, he must have been seriously high-value and he would never have resurfaced (at least not intact and in a single geographic location) and landed in the media spotlight...

(then again, these days who knows... maybe he'll get back his job at Geico doing those caveman commercials)
14:51 April 2, 2010 by michael4096
@Frenemy - For most people, there is never good reason for kidnapping and torture.

However, if this guy was rendered 'by mistake' and thrown back it would very simply explain many things. It's a proposition Occam would have looked favourably upon.
15:28 April 2, 2010 by Frenemy
Ethical certitude is a luxury that aforementioned alleged "kidnappers"/"torturers" seldom enjoy. People in the intelligence business are forever teetering on the edge of the MORAL razor (not Occam's) ;-)
02:39 April 3, 2010 by wenddiver
My little neices may be CIA operatives. The whole time I watched them while my Sister and her husband were in the hospital (Merecedes crash) I was subjected to F-ed up circadian rhytms, shitty food (dinosaur shaped chicken nuggetts), no social interaction and hardest of all the 24 our a day singing Purple Dinosaur that sounds like Barney Frank and is called scarily enough "BARNEY".

Truely scary stuff. How do parents survive???
15:18 April 3, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Well, insanity is hereditary. We inherit it from our children.
01:58 April 11, 2010 by Jason U.
I lived in Neu Ulm for a few years (1987-1991) and it was a nice city. This guy was probably no angel and if he really was "rendered" I want to see some proof in writing not his claims or the claims of his lawyer/liar. There is no excuse for his behavior. Sounds like the city has gone downhill since I lived there. BTW, rendition started under "America's First Black President" Bill Clinton. Clinton never used it. George Bush used it. Sucks to be Khaled el-Masri,
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