German ‘Abducted by CIA’ Sues Macedonia

default103Khaled El Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese origin who claims he was kidnapped by the CIA during his stay in Skopje in 2003, filed a second lawsuit against Macedonia on Monday.

El Masri says that Macedonian police assisted the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency in kidnapping and transferring him in to a secret location in Afghanistan where he was questioned on involvement in terrorist activities.

He is suing Macedonia for violating his human rights and seeks damages of €50,000.

“We are seeking damages for the time he spent there, and for the torture he went through in Macedonia during the 24 days that he was kept”, El Masri’s lawyer in Macedonia, Filip Medarski, told local media.

El Masri says that he was kidnapped in December 2003 while visiting Macedonia as a tourist, then held for 24 days in a hotel in Skopje before being transported to Afghanistan by CIA agents. He says the CIA released him after five months after they realised they had mistaken him for someone else.

El Masri’s case was part of a formal investigation that the Council of Europe launched in 2005 on the possible existence of secret and illegal CIA prisons on European soil. A special commission investigating the case visited Macedonia in 2006.

In 2007 the German prosecutor’s office filed charges against 13 U.S. citizens who allegedly took part in El Masri’s kidnapping and torture, although Germany never asked for their extradition. El Masri sued the 13 men as well as Germany for not asking for their extradition, but lost the case.

In October, El Masri filed charges against unknown persons in the Macedonian police but observers say that case can be dismissed under the statute of limitations. Medarski said that the second suit has a better chance.

“The law envisages this if there is no suit within five years, but this does not apply in this case because El Masri was practically prevented from filing a suit on time,” Medarski told Balkan Insight. “The first case was filed in front of the public prosecutor’s office but we still have no reply from them.”

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