Lawsuit filed against CIA for the use of torture

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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A German man, Khaled al-Masri, has filed a lawsuit against the CIA for alleged torture when he was held prisoner for five months in Afghanistan last year. He was arrested in 2004 in connection with the September 11 attacks when he was stopped in Macedonia. After being arrested, he was flown to Afghanistan for questioning.

U.S. Secretary of State Rice meeting with German chancellor Merkel

Masri said his cell in Afghanistan was cold, dirty and in a cellar, with no light and one dirty cover for warmth. The first night he said he was kicked and beaten and warned by an interrogator: "You are here in a country where no one knows about you, in a country where there is no law. If you die, we will bury you, and no one will know."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing Mr. al-Masri in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia seeking damages of at least $75,000. The main defendant is former CIA director George Tenet.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Germany and would not comment on the lawsuit but the new German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "I'm happy to say we have discussed the one case, which the government of the United States has of course accepted as a mistake..."

A senior U.S. official accompanying Condoleezza Rice to Romania said that Rice had not admitted to any mistakes in the handling of Masri. "We are not quite sure what was in her head," he said, referring to Merkel.