Beaten and sodomized: European human rights court finds CIA guilty of torture
December 18, 2012
The European Court of Human Rights found the CIA guilty of torturing a terror suspect for the first time ever. A German citizen was illegally detained, tortured and sodomized by a CIA “rendition team’ after being mistaken for an al-Qaeda member.
The Strasbourg-based court has unanimously ruled that German citizen Khalid el-Masri was tortured by a CIA ‘rendition team’.
The court also found the state of Macedonia guilty of secretly imprisoning, abusing and torturing Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese origin, and ordered €60,000 in compensation to be paid to the former detainee. The Macedonian government denied any involvement in the kidnapping.
James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, told the Guardian that the ruling of the Grand Chamber of ECtHR should become a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts. For the US Congress to continue avoiding serious scrutiny of CIA activities is going to be “simply unacceptable”, Goldston said.
Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, believes the ECtHR ruling is “a key milestone in the long struggle to secure accountability of public officials implicated in human rights violations committed by the Bush adminsitration CIA in its policy of secret detention, rendition and torture”.
Emmerson suggested that the US government must issue an apology for its “central role in a web of systematic crimes and human rights violations by the Bush-era CIA” and pay voluntary compensation to Khalid el-Masri. In turn, Germany should seek the US officials involved in this case to be brought to trial.
The milestone decision of the European court has come into spotlight together with the final approval on Thursday of a behemoth 6,000 page report on harsh interrogation techniques prepared by the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence.
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