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German prosecutors seek extradition of CIA agents in el-Masri rendition

[JURIST] German prosecutors said Monday they will seek the extradition of 13 US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] agents they believe to be responsible for the alleged 2003 kidnapping and extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of German national Khalid El-Masri [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive]. US State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said that he hadn't formally heard about the German request, but told reporters that the US response would be "about the same" [press briefing transcript; video] as prior extradition requests for CIA agents. In February, the State Department said that the US would not extradite CIA agents to Italy [JURIST report] for a rendition-related trial. The German government can block the prosecutor's demand if it decides it harms the public interest.

El-Masri alleges that CIA agents kidnapped him while on vacation in Macedonia in 2003 and transferred him to Afghanistan, where he was held in a secret prison for five months and subjected to inhumane conditions and coercive interrogation. He was released in Albania in 2004 without apology or funds to return to Germany. El-Masri sued [ACLU materials] various CIA officials in 2005, arguing that they violated international human rights law in his rendition to Afghanistan. A US federal appeals court upheld [JURIST report] the dismissal of that lawsuit in March 2007, ruling that the case could not be heard in a US court because of the state secrets privilege [Sourcewatch backgrounder]. Reuters has more.

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