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Macedonia apologises for role in CIA's secret rendition programme
4.4.18
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The Macedonian government has expressed "sincere apologies and unreserved regrets" for its role in the 2004 abduction and torture of German citizen Khaled el-Masri as part of the CIA's "rendition" programme.

On New Year's Eve 2003 el-Masri was detained by the Macedonian authorities, held in isolation and subsequently handed over to the CIA, who interrogated him for three weeks in the Balkan country and then trasported him to Afghanistan:

"where he was imprisoned for almost four months in inhuman conditions, and then further mistreated him in a notorious CIA facility. In late May, the CIA reverse rendered El-Masri to Europe, and then left him on a roadside in Albania, long after American authorities had concluded that they had mistakenly captured the wrong man."

In a letter, Macedonian foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov acknowledged the “immeasurable and painful experiences and grave physical and psychological wounds” suffered by el-Masri due to the "improper conduct of our authorities".

See: Macedonia Issues Apology for Involvement in Torture by CIA (Open Society Foundations, link):

"NEW YORK—The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has formally apologized to a man it unlawfully seized, held incommunicado, and handed over to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency 14 years ago, during the secret CIA rendition and torture program which followed the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Macedonian security personnel detained Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen, at Macedonia’s border on December 31, 2003, and interrogated him in secret for over three weeks. They then delivered him to CIA agents who flew him to Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned for almost four months in inhuman conditions, and then further mistreated him in a notorious CIA facility. In late May, the CIA reverse rendered El-Masri to Europe, and then left him on a roadside in Albania, long after American authorities had concluded that they had mistakenly captured the wrong man.

On December 13, 2012, in a case brought on El-Masri’s behalf by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found the FYROM in breach of several provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights and awarded compensation of €60,000, which the government subsequently paid.

Now, six years later, in a letter to El-Masri dated March 28, 2018, Macedonia’s minister of foreign affairs, Nikola Dimitrov, has expressed his “sincere apologies and unreserved regrets” for what he described as the “improper conduct of our authorities” in 2004. He also noted the “immeasurable and painful experiences and grave physical and psychological wounds you suffered” as a result."

And see: Macedonia Apologises for Role in CIA Rendition (Balkan Insight, link):

"Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov has apologised on behalf of his country for unlawfully seizing Khaled el-Masri, holding him in isolation and handing him over to the CIA in 2004.

This was done during the secret CIA rendition and torture program, which followed the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

In the letter dated March 28, Dimitrov expressed his “sincere apologies and unreserved regrets” for what he described as the “improper conduct of our authorities”, the Open Society Foundation said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

He also acknowledged the “immeasurable and painful experiences and grave physical and psychological wounds” that el-Masri had suffered as a result."

Further reading: Observatory on "rendition": The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners

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