El Masri sues Macedonia over alleged CIA kidnapping

Khaled el-Masri is seeking 50,000 euro in compensation — and an apology — from the government in Macedonia, where he says he was abducted while on a trip in 2003. His action follows failed attempts to have his case heard in court in the United States and Germany.

El-Masri, who is of Lebanese descent, says he was brutally interrogated at a secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan for more than four months. He said he went on hunger strike for 27 days and was eventually flown back to Europe and abandoned in a mountainous area in Albania.

His lawyers in Macedonia, Darian Pavli and Filip Medarski, said they are seeking compensation on the grounds that Macedonia sanctioned his alleged abduction and subsequently blocked any investigation into the incident.

Authorities in Macedonia deny any involvement in his alleged kidnapping.

“To start with, it would be good if Macedonia at least apologizes to el-Masri,” Pavli said Thursday, adding that his client would not be present for the start of the trial at a court in Macedonia’s capital Skopje.

Clara Gutteridge, of the London-based rights group Reprieve, will present the findings of the group’s investigation into the el-Masri case, the organization said in a statement Thursday.

U.S. officials have refused to comment publicly on the case, but diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks website show that diplomats in Germany and Macedonia were at pains to keep the case out of the news and the court.

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