German CIA rendition victim sentenced to jail for assault
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.