German to sue ministry over wrongful CIA rendition

German to sue ministry over wrongful CIA rendition
Photo: DPA
A German citizen mistakenly abducted in a case involving the controversial CIA practice known as "extraordinary rendition" reportedly has plans to sue the German Justice Ministry.

Lebanese-born German citizen Khaled el-Masri, who says he was abducted, handed over to the CIA and tortured by them, is to file a lawsuit against the Justice Ministry with the help of a human rights group, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) wants to force the German government to push for the extradition of 13 CIA agents from the US who reportedly kidnapped el-Masri in early 2004, according to the magazine.

Early last year, prosecutors in the southern German city of Munich issued arrest warrants for the 13 CIA agents in a move that further strained US-German relations already tense after el-Masri made the allegations. But following a diplomatic offensive by the US embassy in Berlin against the move, the German Justice Ministry decided at the end of last year not to forward the warrants to the US, the magazine reported.

“The German justice system has remained stuck half-way,” ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck was quoted as saying by the magazine. “An arrest warrant for torture and making a person disappear has to be pushed through,” he said.

El-Masri claims he was abducted in Macedonia at the end of 2003. After being handed over to the CIA and flown to Afghanistan, he claims to have been tortured and accused of collusion with the Sept. 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.