The story of El-Masri v. Tenet : human rights and humanitarian law in the "war on terror"
Margaret L. Satterthwaite
Human rights advocacy stories
New York : West, 2009
This Chapter, which appears in Human Rights Advocacy Stories, tells the story of the El Masri case from its inception to dismissal, and from U.S. court to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Among the most notorious anti-terror techniques used by the U.S. government in the "War on Terror" are two shrouded in secrecy: extraordinary rendition and enforced disappearances. The case of Khaled El-Masri brings these issues before a U.S court. In an apparent case of mistaken identity, a German man of Lebanese descent was abducted while on vacation in Macedonia, transferred to a secret U.S.-controlled prison in Afghanistan, and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment over the course of five months. Released when then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice discovered that he was being held by mistake, a stunned El-Masri made his way back to Germany. In December 2005, the ACLU filed suit on his behalf, alleging violations of due process under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and human rights claims based on numerous human rights and humanitarian law treaties which are cognizable under the Alien Tort Statute.