Germany won't press for arrest of CIA agents
24 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Germany will not press the United States authorities to arrest a team of CIA agents accused of responsibility for the unjustified detention of a Lebanese-born German national on suspicion of terrorism, a news report said Saturday.
24 September 2007
Berlin (dpa) - Germany will not press the United States authorities to arrest a team of CIA agents accused of responsibility for the unjustified detention of a Lebanese-born German national on suspicion of terrorism, a news report said Saturday.
Der Spiegel news magazine reported the government would not forward a request from the Munich prosecutors office for the arrest of 10 agents linked to the detention of Khaled el-Masri in Macedonia in December 2003.
Masri, 44, told a German parliamentary inquiry he had been flown to Afghanistan and tortured over a five-month period.
The Munich prosecutor asked Berlin to formally request US police to arrest and extradite 10 alleged agents.
According to Der Spiegel, the German Justice Ministry inquired in Washington about how a request would be handled and was informed in clear terms that the agents would not be arrested.
Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries had decided not to press the issue in order not to exacerbate divisions within the broad coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the magazine said.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has the reputation of a hardliner on terrorism, had opposed the application for fear it would harm relations with the US, in particular with regard to intelligence on terrorist suspects.
Schaeuble, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), and Zypries, of the junior partner in the coalition, the Social Democrats (SPD), have clashed in recent weeks over the interior minister's plans to spy on the personal computers of terrorist suspects.
Increasing divisions have opened up within the cabinet over the past week on a range of issues, many of them centred on countering terrorism.
Masri was indicted earlier this month for an arson attack on a cash-and-carry market. He is accused of setting fire to several cans of petrol and causing damage worth 500,000 euros (700,000 dollars).
His lawyer, Manfred Gnjidic, has blamed Masri's behaviour on the events of 2004.
Subject: German news