European court condemns CIA in landmark ruling
PARIS (AP) - A European court issued a landmark ruling on Thursday that condemned the CIA's "extraordinary renditions" programmes and bolstered those who say they were illegally kidnapped and tortured as part of an overzealous war on terrorism.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a German car salesman was an innocent victim of torture and abuse, in a long-awaited victory for a man who had failed for years to get courts in the US and Europe to acknowledge what happened to him.
Mr Khaled El-Masri says he was kidnapped from Macedonia in 2003, mistaken for a terrorism suspect, then held for four months and brutally interrogated at an Afghan prison known as the "Salt Pit" run by the US Central Intelligence Agency. He says that once US authorities realised he was not a threat, they illegally sent him to Albania and left him on a mountainside.
The European court, based in Strasbourg, France, ruled that Mr 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 US authorities in the context of an extra-judicial rendition."