Constitutional Law

ACLU Suit in US Was Dismissed, But Euro Court Says Man Mistaken for Terrorist Was Brutalized by CIA

When a German car salesman filed suit in the U.S. claiming that he had been mistaken for an al-Qaida terrorist with a similar name and held for months and interrogated and brutalized in Macedonia and Afghanistan as part of a clandestine rendition program operated by the CIA, the case was dismissed because allowing the American Civil Liberties Union to pursue it would have violated a state secrets privilege.

But the European Court of Human Rights on Thursday found that Khaled el-Masri had been shackled, hooded, severely beaten and sodomized “at the hands of the CIA rendition team,” the Associated Press reports.

The Guardian, the New York Times and the New Yorker’s Close Read page also have stories and a post on NPR’s blog, The Two-Way, provides additional background about the case.

Macedonia said it accepted the ruling of the court, which is based in Strasbourg, France, and would pay the judgment of approximately $78,000 awarded. The CIA declined comment.

In a press release last year, the ACLU discusses a petition it filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking redress against the U.S. There has reportedly been no response, so far, from the U.S.

Related coverage: “Supreme Court Rejects CIA Detention Case” “Is State Secrets Doctrine Used for Cover-up?” “Red Cross: U.S. Tortured Prisoners” “US Law Doesn’t Bar ‘Rendition Operations,’ CIA Lawyer Says in Law Review Article”

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