An "extraordinary rendition" Story We Should All Know
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 13:43:32 -0600 (CST)
From: "Anthony D. Romero, ACLU" <Executive_Director@...>
Subject: A Story We Should All KnowKhaled El-Masri with two of his children.I have come to America seeking three things. An acknowledgement that the United States government is responsible for kidnapping, abusing and detaining me; an explanation as to why I was singled out for this treatment; and an apology because I am an innocent man who has never been charged with any crime.
-- Khaled El-Masri, a victim of extraordinary renditionDear Friend,The case of our client Khaled El-Masri is one we should all be watching carefully. Yesterday, he stood up in a courtroom to challenge the Bush administration's use of "extraordinary rendition," abduction, detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons.While it is a credit to our system of justice that Mr. El-Masri can now demand accountability from his CIA kidnappers, all of us must ask, how have we let our country stray so far from its ideals?Mr. El-Masri's story is a frightening catalogue of abuses. A father of six, he was forcibly abducted in Macedonia while on vacation, handed over to the CIA and flown to a secret interrogation center in Afghanistan where he was beaten, drugged and repeatedly denied legal counsel. After two months, CIA operatives informed director George Tenet that they were holding an innocent man. But it still took two more months before he was released -- flown in secret to Albania and left alone on a hillside in the middle of the night.People need to hear his story, and the agencies and private companies responsible must face real justice for their violations of U.S. laws as well as universal human rights laws.In a legal maneuver that is now familiar, the government is trying to use the veil of secrecy to avoid accountability for its actions. But yesterday, we argued that the government's official recognition of the program and information already available about this case show that the lawsuit does not jeopardize national security and must be allowed to continue.Our government would rather you didnt hear his story. The last time Mr. El-Masri tried to come to the U.S. -- to hear his own court case -- he was denied entry because he did not have a visa, even though German citizens dont actually need visas to enter the U.S. This week, Mr. El-Masri witnessed his court proceedings and will also be meeting in person with members of Congress to share his story. As he told the Washington Post today, I never thought badly of the United States. I do think badly of the foreign policy aspects and the sitting government.You can help.
The ACLU is appalled that our government sanctioned and carried out these atrocious actions -- and that it continues to shirk responsibility by hiding behind state secrets. These are not the actions of a proud nation, instead they diminish us as a people.
- Learn more about El-Masri v. Tenet.
- Watch Mr. El-Masri and his attorneys tell the story in their own words.
- And tell others about the case, and the unthinkable acts perpetrated in our name - and now being deliberately covered over through an abuse of the "state secrets" privilege.
We will continue the fight both to seek justice for Khaled El-Masri and to end the practice of extraordinary rendition. Thank you for making those efforts possible.Sincerely,
Anthony D. Romero
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