Witness: Khaled El-Masri - Victim of Extraordinary Rendition

July 14, 2006

VIDEO
> Khaled El-Masri

WITNESSES
> Father Roy Bourgeois
> Jessica Gonzales

MORE
> Press Statement
> Extraordinary Rendition
> Dimming the Beacon of Freedom (Report to ICCPR)

I have come to Geneva for simple reasons. They are the same reasons I filed a lawsuit in America, but the judicial system there won’t allow me to even speak of what happened. They are the same reasons I have testified before the German Parliament, but still they have not been addressed. So now I bring it to the international community and ask the United Nations for help.

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What I am seeking is an acknowledgement that the CIA is responsible for what happened to me, an explanation as to why this happened, and an apology.

Extraordinary rendition is outside the bounds of any legal or moral framework, and should never be allowed under any circumstance. As a global society, we must condemn the practice of rendition whenever we see or hear of it.

I was born in Kuwait in 1963 to Lebanese parents and am now a German citizen, a husband and a father of five young children. I was detained from December 31, 2003 through May 28, 2004 in Macedonia and then in Afghanistan where I was held in the CIA prison known as the "Salt Pit.” After these experiences I will never be the same.

The ordeal began when I was abducted, interrogated and detained incommunicado for 23 days in Macedonia. Subsequently I was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a location where I was severely beaten, my clothes were sliced off my body, my underwear was forcibly removed. I was dressed in a diaper and put in a belt with chains attached to my wrists and ankles. Earmuffs were placed over my ears, eye pads over my eyes, and then I was blindfolded, hooded and thrown to the floor of a plane face down where my legs and arms were spread-eagled and secured to the walls. I received two injections, and became unconscious.

When I landed I was taken to a building, thrown to the floor, and kicked and beaten on the head, the soles of my feet, and the small of my back. I was left in a small, dirty, cold concrete cell with no bed and one dirty blanket. The only water was putrid. I was stripped, interrogated, photographed and my captors forcibly took blood and urine samples. I remained in solitary confinement for more than four months.

At the end of that time I was led out of my cell, blindfolded and handcuffed, put on a plane and chained to the seat. I was abandoned in Albania where I believed I would be shot in the back and left to die.

I have endured this hell and now I want these simple things: an acknowledgement, an explanation and an apology. It is my hope that the Human Rights Committee will hold the U.S. government accountable for the abuse I have suffered.

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