Spanish prosecutor requests arrest warrants for CIA “rendition” agents

A lawyer from Spain‘s National Court Office of the Prosecutor on May 12 petitioned judge Ismael Moreno to issue arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents who allegedly kidnapped a German citizen of Lebanese descent in 2003 as part of the Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program. Khaled el-Masri claims that the CIA kidnapped him while he was traveling to Macedonia in 2003 and transported him to a secret detention facility in Afghanistan where he was held for four months. The Office of the Prosecutor alleges that the court has jurisdiction to issue the warrants because the agents made a stop in Spanish territory using hidden identities without official Spanish government authorization to do so.

That same day, Spanish newspaper El Pais published the names of the alleged CIA agents, also reporting that National Court Prosecutor Vicente González Mota has petitioned the court to subpoena the London human rights organization Reprieve to corroborate the agent names.

In 2008, el-Masri petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to open an investigation of human rights violations by the US, alleging that he was tortured by the CIA. In 2007, the US Supreme Court rejected without comment el-Masri’s petition for certiorari, ostensibly supporting the Bush administration’s contention that allowing el-Masri’s federal lawsuit to proceed would require the revelation of state secrets. Also in 2007, the German Justice Ministry said that it would not press a formal request to extradite the 13 CIA agents suspected of participating in el-Masri’s alleged rendition after the Bush administration informed them it would not comply with a such a request despite a 2006 German investigation that concluded there was no evidence to disprove el-Masri’s allegations.

From Jurist, May 13. Used with permission.

See our last post on the torture and detainment scandal.