Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flying Outside The Law

At the risk of turning this blog into a legal journal, here is another interesting case currently developing in the Spanish judicial system. I have written before about the use made by the CIA of the airport at Palma de Mallorca, for their “extraordinary rendition” flights transporting prisoners around the world. Whilst the Spanish government has denied all knowledge of the flights, and seems very keen not to get involved in the issue, some private citizens took the initiative and a case has been opened involving the possible use of torture and illegal detention related to the use of Spanish airports for these flights.

First to declare the other day was Khaled El Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese origin. El Masri was kidnapped in Macedonia in 2004, and then transported to Kabul in a plane that is said to have stopped over in Mallorca. He endured five months of illegal detention before being released somewhere near the frontiers of Serbia, Macedonia and Albania. El Masri declared the other day that he was not physically tortured, but that he was tied up at times and intimidated with firearms. It goes without saying that no formal accusation was ever made against him, and the nature of his release suggests an attempt by his captors to cover their trail. I will be posting on any significant developments in the case.

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