German testifies in probe into alleged CIA 'rendition'
22 June 2006, BERLIN - A parliamentary probe was due to hear testimony on Thursday from a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, who alleges he was kidnapped by the CIA and held for five months in an Afghan jail.
22 June 2006
BERLIN - A parliamentary probe was due to hear testimony on Thursday from a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, who alleges he was kidnapped by the CIA and held for five months in an Afghan jail.
El-Masri, who is 42 and was born in Lebanon, says he was detained on January 1, 2003 on the Serbian-Macedonian border on suspicion of terrorist activities and only released after the CIA realized they had the wrong man.
The parliamentary investigation is seeking to determine how much German officials knew about the el-Masri case and when they knew it. A key question is whether German intelligence played any role in el- Masri's detention.
Both el-Masri and a surprise witness from Macedonia - a telephone company director - were due to testify to the probe on Thursday, sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Critics say Berlin should have been more assertive in seeking el- Masri's release and there are allegations that German officials were informed about the case far earlier than is claimed.
Germany's BND foreign intelligence service says one of its agents first heard that a German national had been detained in Skopje during the first half of January 2003.
The German government had earlier insisted its officials were only tipped off regarding the alleged abduction after el-Masri's release.
El-Masri is seeking damages from the CIA for his alleged ordeal. The US has neither confirmed that it held him nor that it ever admitted this to Germany.
Subject: German news