International Tribunal Takes Up Case of Innocent Victim of CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program

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Update:  According to Steven Watt, El-Masri's lawyer, the Obama administration probably couldn't make the "state secrets" claim in the Inter-American Commission, which does "not recognize blanket prohibition on accessing courts to assert fundamental rights."  However, " Obama can try to argue that the state secrets privilege was legitimately raised before domestic courts and El Masri thus wasn't denied access to a remedy (one of El Masri's claims before the IACHR) but in our view, based on our assessment of international law, Obama wouldn't prevail."

He adds: "there is no equivalent of the state secrets privilege recognized under international human rights law to bar a human rights victim accessing an international tribunal such as the Commission."

Petition Filed by ACLU Seeking Justice for Kidnapping and Torture of Khaled El-Masri Moves Forward

  In 2003, El-Masri, a German citizen, was kidnapped and flown to a CIA-run "black site" in Afghanistan, where he was secretly detained and tortured for months. Although his innocence was clear soon after his detention, the CIA continued to hold El-Masri for four months before flying him to Albania and abandoning him on a hillside in the dead of night. El-Masri has never been charged with a crime.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has accepted a petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an innocent victim of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.

"The United States has an opportunity to reverse one of the most shameful legacies of the Bush administration and finally give an innocent victim of the extraordinary rendition program his day in court," said Steven Watt, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program.

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This page contains a single entry published on August 27, 2009 4:04 PM.

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