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Kidnapped by the CIA: The Case of Khaled el-Masri

April 22, 2022

In 2004, Khaled el-Masri is kidnapped by the CIA. A German citizen with Lebanese roots, el-Masri is flown to a prison near Kabul, where he undergoes months of torture. All the while, he maintains his innocence.

Sendung Doku " Der Fall Khaled el-Masri"
Image: New Docs

This film tells the story of how geopolitical power  and interests destroyed Khaled el-Masri's life. 

Sendung Doku " Der Fall Khaled el-Masri"
Image: New Docs

On a bus trip near the Macedonian border in late 2003, el-Masri disappears. The CIA takes him to a secret prison in Afghanistan, on the suspicion of being a member of al-Qaeda. However, it is a case of mistaken identity.


Sendung Doku " Der Fall Khaled el-Masri"
Image: New Docs

After his release, El-Masri goes public with his story. Thanks to him, the U.S. intelligence community's post-9/11 Extraordinary Rendition Program - under which people are abducted from one state and taken to another -- came to light. 

Sendung Doku " Der Fall Khaled el-Masri"
Image: New Docs

In the years following the kidnapping, el-Masri fights in vain for an apology, and the restoration of his dignity. Neither the German nor U.S. governments address his allegations, although then-German Interior Minister Otto Schily was informed of el-Masri's case by U.S. authorities shortly before his release.

El-Masri, traumatized by torture, becomes an arsonist, beats up the mayor of Neu-Ulm and is sent to prison for a total of five years. Deeply disappointed, he leaves Germany.

European Court of human rights Europäischer Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Wlodarczyk

In December 2012, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg recognized el-Masri's rendition to the CIA as a violation of his fundamental human rights. Macedonia is ordered to pay 60,000 euros in compensation for his pain and suffering. 

Sendung Doku " Der Fall Khaled el-Masri"
Image: New Docs

This documentary tells the story of an abuse of power, followed by apathy: How Khaled el-Masri and his family became victims of an unlawful state intervention, and how the German government simply gave in to the illegal demands of its American friends.

Broadcasting Hours: 

DW English

THU 28.04.2022 – 01:15 UTC
THU 28.04.2022 – 04:15 UTC
THU 28.04.2022 – 18:15 UTC
FRI 29.04.2022 – 09:15 UTC
SAT 30.04.2022 – 19:15 UTC
SUN 01.05.2022 – 02:15 UTC
SUN 01.05.2022 – 15:15 UTC

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FRI 29.04.2022 – 09:15 UTC

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