Strasbourg. The European Human Rights Court has rendered its verdict. The US, Central Intelligence Agency is guilty of the crime of torture in the case of Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen. This is the first time that such a judgement has been passed.
This sordid tale of kidnapping, torture and blatant disregard for human rights began to surface in 2005 when The Guardian ran a bizarre story about a man wandering near the Albanian border who claims he doesn’t know where he is. He has a passport that shows he is a German citizen but has no entry stamp for Albania. He is carrying a suitcase but wandering a mountain trail near Macedonia. He claims that he was kidnapped and tortured, sent to Afghanistan, imprisoned there and then brought back to Europe and dumped at night in the mountains.
It would have been easy to dismiss his claims as the ravings of a disturbed person, but the Germans took his story seriously enough to take hair samples to test. The technology is advanced enough to pinpoint where a person has been.
The former car salesman and father of six tells the harrowing story of taking off for a weekend alone and ending up in the middle of a nightmare. Then being ‘dumped’ in the mountains months later when the torturers discovered they had kidnapped the wrong person.
In the meantime his wife and four children returned to Lebanon thinking him dead or deserted. He brought them back to Germany after locating them.
May of this year saw news that the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg would hear el-Masri’s case. In a historical judgement, all 17 judges pronounced the CIA guilty. They also went on to demand a large fine from the republic of Macedonia for their collusion in this rendition.
"Needless to say that this ruling is a victory and a landmark decision as for the first time methods used by the CIA are clearly described as torture, which is very promising for other victims that might seek compensations and send an important signal to the US authorities. However Macedonia does not seem to be the big fish in this Kafkaesque story and is only the sidekick of greater powers. When will they be held accountable for their actions?" Cage Prisoners
That truly is the question. When will Madame Justice prevail?