German to sue ministry over wrongful CIA rendition

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.

German to sue ministry over wrongful CIA rendition
Photo: DPA

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.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.