In a judgment delivered at Strasbourg on 13 December 2012 in the case of El-Masri v. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (application no 39630/09), the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been:

A violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of the inhuman and degrading treatment to which Mr El-Masri was subjected while being held in a hotel in Skopje, on account of his treatment at Skopje Airport, which amounted to torture, and on account of his transfer into the custody of the United States authorities, thus exposing him to the risk of further treatment contrary to Article 3; a violation of Article 3 on account of the failure of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to carry out an effective investigation into Mr El-Masri’s allegations of ill-treatment; violations of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) on account of his detention in the hotel in Skopje for 23 days and of his subsequent captivity in Afghanistan, as well as on account of the failure to carry out an effective investigation into his allegations of arbitrary detention;

A violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life); and,

A violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy)

The case concerned the complaints of a German national of Lebanese origin that he had been a victim of a secret “rendition” operation during which he was arrested, held in isolation, questioned and ill-treated in a Skopje hotel for 23 days, then transferred to CIA agents who brought him to a secret detention facility in Afghanistan, where he was further ill-treated for over four months. The Court found Mr El-Masri’s account to be established beyond reasonable doubt and held that “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” had been responsible for his torture and ill-treatment both in the country itself and after his transfer to the US authorities in the context of an extra-judicial “rendition”.

Source: ECHR press release

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