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German foreign minister denies involvement in el-Masri kidnapping

[JURIST] German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier [BBC profile] on Thursday denied any knowledge of the alleged CIA kidnapping of German national Khaled el-Masri [JURIST news archive; ACLU case materials] until after the man was released. Steinmeier, who has previously denied that Germany aided the CIA [JURIST report] in kidnapping el-Masri, reiterated that sentiment Thursday, saying that "Germany provided no assistance to the kidnapping of a German citizen." Steinmeier's comments came as he entered a closed hearing in the ongoing parliamentary probe of the el-Masri case.

El Masri has alleged that CIA agents kidnapped him in 2003 in Macedonia and transferred him to Afghanistan, where he was held in a secret prison for five months and subjected to inhumane conditions and coercive interrogation before eventually being released in Albania in 2004 without charge. Last month, lawyers for el-Masri argued [JURIST report] before the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that his civil case against the CIA for his alleged extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] should be reinstated. In October, el-Masri testified before a Spanish judge [JURIST report] as part of an investigation [JURIST report] into whether the CIA used Spanish airports to transport el-Masri to countries where they could legally torture him. In June, a German investigator concluded that no evidence had surfaced to disprove el-Masri's story [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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