A judgment issued on Thursday by the European Court of Human Rights contains an account of the treatment of a man who, after some detective work by a foreign police force, was handed over to the C.I.A. as suspected member of Al Qaeda:
Upon arrival, still handcuffed and blindfolded, he was initially placed in a chair, where he sat for one and a half hours….Then, two people violently pulled his arms back. On that occasion he was beaten severely from all sides. His clothes were sliced from his body with scissors or a knife. His underwear was forcibly removed. He was thrown to the floor, his hands were pulled back and a boot was placed on his back. He then felt a firm object being forced into his anus….He was then pulled from the floor and dragged to a corner of the room, where his feet were tied together. His blindfold was removed. A flash went off and temporarily blinded him. When he recovered his sight, he saw seven or eight men dressed in black and wearing black ski masks.
Four months, two hunger strikes, and a sojourn in more than one secret prison later, the man, Khaled El-Masri, who had been picked up in Macedonia in 2003, was simply dumped by the side of the road near an Albanian border crossing. Along the way, he’d had a gun held to his head as an interrogator berated him, demanding that he admit his connection to Al Qaeda. … after a couple of months, the C.I.A. figured out that they had picked up not a shadowy terrorist but a car salesman from Bavaria who happened to have a similar name. Even then, they kept him prisoner for several weeks while trying to figure out their next move. There is now no dispute that this was a case of simple mistaken identity.