German's CIA abduction claim aired in US court

German's CIA abduction claim aired in US court
German's CIA abduction claim aired in US court

Washington - A German citizen's lawsuit claiming he was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA went before a US court Friday, drawing attention to highly disputed US practices in the fight against terrorism.

The lawsuit by Lebanese-born German Khalid El-Masri charges that former CIA director George Tenet, other CIA officials and US-based aviation companies with violations of US and international law.

The US government has called for the case to be thrown out, citing the rarely used argument that a trial would risk exposing state secrets.

El-Masri alleges he was seized in Macedonia in 2003 and handed over to US officials, who brought him to Afghanistan as a terror suspect and mistreated him during a five-month detention. He says he was released without explanation in May 2004 in Albania.

The suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a human rights group, argues that El-Masri is innocent and was held for two months after Tenet was informed that his capture was a mistake.

There have been several reports of so-called 'extraordinary renditions' - capturing terror suspects and taking them to a third country - and torture in the US-declared war on terrorism.

A Washington Post last year that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operates secret prisons abroad, including in Eastern Europe, has touched off an investigation by the European Parliament. El- Masri's case is part of the inquiry.