Saturday, April 07, 2007

Prosecutors to seek custody of CIA agents

Munich (dpa) - German prosecutors said Thursday they will make a new attempt to bring 13 CIA workers to justice for the abduction of a German-Lebanese citizen mistakenly suspected of terrorism.

"We will submit an application for temporary custody in the United States," Chief Prosecutor August Stern said in Munich, two months after a court in the city issued arrest warrants for the 13.

The suspects are believed to be the crew and passengers of an aircraft that flew Lebanese-born Khaled el-Masri from Macedonia to Afghanistan in 2003. Masri alleges he was secretly detained for five months in Kabul then dumped by his captors in Albania.

His lawyers say he is an innocent victim of the CIA practice of the "extraordinary rendition" of terrorism suspects that has caused intense controversy in several European countries.

Munich prosecutors said the new application will be relayed to US authorities via the Justice Ministry in Berlin. Most of the suspects live in the US state of North Carolina, according to German reports.

Following a request by the Munich court, Interpol issued warrants for 10 of the 13 agents, accusing them of abduction and causing serious bodily harm. German officials say they expect little help from the US and the 13 are unlikely to be detained unless they return to a European Union country.

Last month a US appeals court refused to allow Masri's lawsuit against former CIA director George Tenet to go to court. The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia upheld the decision of a lower court that said a trial could reveal state secrets and endanger national security.

The suit charges Tenet knew Masri had been held even after the agency had realized his capture was a mistake. Masri says his main goal is an apology from the US government. He is also seeking damages of at least 75,000 dollars.


Well that's 13 people who won't be coming to Europe for their vacation...unless...Interpol considers the CIA agents worthy of extraordinary rendition. Of course that will never happen, but that's no reason to ignore the obvious irony.


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