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Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 16:03 UK

German sues for CIA extradition

Khaled al-Masri
Khaled al-Masri says he has been traumatised by his experiences

A German citizen has gone to court in an attempt to force his government to seek the extradition of 13 suspected CIA agents who allegedly kidnapped him.

Khaled al-Masri says he was abducted in December 2003, flown to a US detention centre in Afghanistan and tortured.

Mr Masri was released in May 2004 after his captors allegedly told him he had been mistaken for someone else.

In September, the justice ministry decided not to pursue arrest warrants issued for the suspected CIA agents.

A spokeswoman, Eva Schmierer, said the ministry had been told by Washington that any extradition would jeopardise "American national interests".

I just want the German government to acknowledge what happened to me
Khaled al-Masri

The new civil suit launched by German and US civil rights lawyers representing Mr Masri seeks to force the German government to reconsider the extradition requests it issued in January 2007.

Mr Masri said that he was angry that, four years after the incident, no government had recognised his ordeal.

"I just want the German government to acknowledge what happened to me," he told reporters.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the US government has acknowledged making a mistake with Mr Masri.

However, in October the US Supreme Court dismissed Mr Masri's appeal against the ruling of lower courts not to hear his case on national security grounds.

'Salt pit'

Mr Masri says his case is an example of the US policy of "extraordinary rendition" - a practice whereby the US government flies foreign terror suspects to third countries without judicial process for interrogation or detention.

He says he was kidnapped in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, in 2003, flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan, nicknamed the "salt pit" and tortured there.

On his flight to Afghanistan, he says, he was stripped, beaten, shackled, made to wear nappies and drugged.

Mr Masri says he was finally released in Albania five months later after the CIA realised they had got the wrong man.

He told the BBC in February 2007 he had been "traumatised" by his experiences.


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