World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday in favor of a German man who says the CIA illegally kidnapped him and took him to a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2003.
It's Khaled El-Masri's first major judicial victory after trying in the U.S. and Europe to get authorities to recognize him as a victim.
He says he was kidnapped from Macedonia in 2003, mistaken for a "terrorism" suspect, then held and brutally tortured at a prison run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for four months.
The European court, based in Strasbourg, France, ruled that El-Masri's account was "established beyond reasonable doubt" and that Macedonia "had been responsible for his torture and ill-treatment both in the country itself and after his transfer to the U.S. authorities in the context of an extra-judicial rendition."
It said the government of Macedonia violated El-Masri's rights repeatedly and ordered it to pay €60,000 in damages. Macedonian authorities said they would not comment until they are formally notified of the ruling. The Macedonian government has denied involvement in kidnapping.
CIA extraordinary renditions across Europe involved abducting and interrogating suspects without court sanction in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., under former President George W. Bush.
A 2007 Council of Europe probe accused 14 European governments of permitting the CIA to run secret prisons or carry out flights for kidnappings between 2002 and 2005. The court's rulings are binding on the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, the continent's human rights watchdog.Last Mod: 13 Aralık 2012, 18:00