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Spain prosecutor requests arrest warrants for CIA rendition agents

A lawyer from the Spanish National Court Office of the Prosecutor on Wednesday 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 [JURIST news archive] program. Khaled el-Masri [JURIST news archive] 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 [WP report] 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. Spanish newspaper El Pais published [text, in Spanish] the names of the alleged CIA agents in a recent story, also reporting that National Court Prosecutor Vicente Gonzalez Mota has petitioned the court to subpoena the London human rights organization Reprieve [advocacy website] to corroborate the agent names.

In 2008, el-Masri petitioned [ACLU materials; JURIST report] the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [official website] 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 [JURIST report] 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 [JURIST report] 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.

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