Europe Wants Probe of Germany′s Role in Secret Detentions | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 13.07.2007
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Europe Wants Probe of Germany's Role in Secret Detentions

A report by the EU human rights commissioner called on Germany to investigate its role in secret CIA detentions of suspected terrorists. Germany has denied it helped with secret renditions.

Did Germany help with CIA kidnappings?

Did Germany help with CIA kidnappings?

A new report by the EU's human rights watchdog accuses Germany of assisting in CIA kidnappings of suspected terrorists for interrogation in third countries. Germany has consistently denied its involvement in this practice, called "extraordinary rendition."

The Council of Europe report said Germany has a responsibility to investigate past cases and make sure similar human rights violations don't happen in the future.

German intelligence allegedly involved in el Masri case

Khaled El-Masri

El Masri was held in Afghanistan for five months

The report by Thomas Hammarberg focuses on the case of Khaled el Masri. The German national, who was born in Lebanon, said he was abducted in 2003 while vacationing in Macedonia. El Masri said he was beaten and mistreated and flown by members of a CIA team to Afghanistan, where he was held as a terrorism suspect for five months and was tortured.

Hammarberg's report said a German intelligence officer visited el Masri and traveled with him to Europe. The report expressed concern about the "questioning by German officials of terrorist suspects who have been detained without due process and allegedly tortured."

"The commissioner calls upon Germany to fully investigate all cases of alleged extraordinary renditions that were carried out on German territory or that involved German nationals or long-term residents," according to the report.

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has denied Germany played a role in el Masri's kidnapping.

Request for compensation

CIA Flug nach Rumänien

The CIA allegedly flew terrorism suspects to Afghanistan

"Effective measures should be adopted to prevent unlawful renditions in the future," the report said.

An earlier Council of Europe report said el Masri and other Europeans who were held by US intelligence services as part of rendition flights and secret prison programs should be compensated and rehabilitated.

In June, public prosecutors demanded the extradition to Germany of the 13 CIA agents allegedly involved in kidnapping el Masri.

German in Guantanamo

Germany has also been criticized for causing a German-born Turk to be held for five at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Murat Kurnaz was arrested in Pakistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was handed over to the US, which transferred him to the prison camp in Cuba, where Kurnaz says he was tortured and abused. He was released last year without being charged.

The media has reported that senior German officials turned down a US offer to release Kurnaz in October 2002.

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