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ACLU appeals dismissal of el-Masri CIA rendition suit

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] said Tuesday it has appealed the dismissal [ACLU press release] of a highly publicized lawsuit [ACLU case materials] brought by the ACLU against CIA Director George Tenet and other agency officials and employees on behalf of Khalid el-Masri [JURIST news archive], a Lebanese born German citizen who claims that the US Central Intelligence Agency [official website] seized him in Macedonia in 2003 in an instance of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive]. El-Masri sued the CIA in the United States for allegedly holding him at a secret Afghanistan prison for five months, subjecting him to inhumane conditions and coercive interrogation, and eventually releasing him in Albania in 2004 without charge.

A federal judge in May dismissed the lawsuit [order, PDF; JURIST report] on state secrets grounds, but the ACLU said that it would "continue to pursue a fair hearing" for el-Masri [press release]. ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, who will argue the appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] in Richmond, stated that if the district court decision is left standing, "the government will have a blank check to shield even its most shameful conduct from accountability." Reuters has more.

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