German man in rendition case set fire to store
21 May 2007, ULM, Germany (AP) _ The lawyer for a German man who says he was kidnapped by the CIA conceded his client set fire to a store _ but blamed government officials for not helping him more after his release from captivity.
21 May 2007
ULM, Germany (AP) _ The lawyer for a German man who says he was kidnapped by the CIA conceded his client set fire to a store _ but blamed government officials for not helping him more after his release from captivity.
Khaled el-Masri, who says the CIA kidnapped and tortured him in an Afghan prison, was detained Thursday at the scene of the fire in southern Germany and sent to a hospital psychiatric ward.
"There's nothing to talk about regarding the setting of the fire _ he did it," said attorney Manfred Gnjidic.
Gnjidic said the government had not done enough to help el-Masri with the psychological after-effects of his kidnapping and abuse.
"He was left alone," Gnjidic said at a press conference. "You can lean back and wait for the powder keg to explode."
Gnijdic said he had sent a letter appealing for help to Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, and the matter had been referred to Bavaria's state government. El-Masri had some therapy at a center for torture victims in the city of Ulm but funds were lacking for comprehensive treatment.
El-Masri had argued with employees of the store in the neighboring town of Neu-Ulm about a defective digital music player and been barred from the store.
El-Masri, who is of Lebanese descent, has said he was mistakenly identified as an associate of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers and was kidnapped while attempting to enter Macedonia in 2003. He claims he was flown to a CIA-run prison known as the "salt pit" in Kabul where he was beaten and sexually abused with an object during five months in captivity.
In March, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, refused to reinstate a lawsuit by el-Masri seeking compensation, ruling the case could jeopardize national security by disclosing state secrets.
Human rights activists have cited el-Masri's story in calling on the U.S. to stop flying terrorism suspects to countries where they could face abuse and torture _ a practice known as extraordinary rendition.
Subject: German news