Arson indictment for German in US rendition case

8th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 September 2007, Memmingen, Germany (dpa) - A Lebanese-born German, Khaled el- Masri, whose capture by alleged CIA agents upset US-German relations, has been indicted for an arson attack on a cash-and-carry mart, prosecutors said Friday. Masri, 44, is accused of setting fire to several jerry-cans of petrol and causing 500,000 euros (650,000 dollars) worth of damage to the mart in Neu-Ulm in Bavaria state in May after an argument about a purchase. His lawyer, Manfred Gnjidic, has blamed the flare-up on el-

8 September 2007

Memmingen, Germany (dpa) - A Lebanese-born German, Khaled el- Masri, whose capture by alleged CIA agents upset US-German relations, has been indicted for an arson attack on a cash-and-carry mart, prosecutors said Friday.

Masri, 44, is accused of setting fire to several jerry-cans of petrol and causing 500,000 euros (650,000 dollars) worth of damage to the mart in Neu-Ulm in Bavaria state in May after an argument about a purchase.

His lawyer, Manfred Gnjidic, has blamed the flare-up on el-Masri's mental distress after the abduction, torture and several months in a filthy prison in Afghanistan.

Gnjidic told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Friday he was surprised prosecutors had not waited first for a report on whether el-Masri had been legally insane.

Johann Kreuzpointner, a prosecutor in the town of Memmingen, said el-Masri was charged with assault and arson and pushing and insulting mart staff earlier.

Kreuzpointner said a psychiatrist had discounted insanity.

Fire brigades doused the flames at the mart before a more serious fire could develop and police arrested el-Masri nearby.

Members of a parliamentary inquiry say they believe el-Masri's testimony in Berlin that he was arrested in Macedonia on December 31, 2003, apparently because his name was identical to that of a wanted terrorism suspect.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in December 2005 that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted the "mistake." Rice, who has defended the US practice of extraordinary rendition, denied any admission.

Washington was upset when Munich prosecutors posted international arrest warrants for 13 Americans believed to be agents of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

El-Masri, who has a wife and children, said he was taken to Afghanistan and questioned for five months of 2004, then released in Macedonia when the Americans realized they had the wrong man.

DPA

Subject: German news

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