December 3, 2005

Civil rights watchdog to sue CIA over detainee

By Chris Baltimore

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. civil liberties group says it
plans to sue the CIA in the case of a man who alleges he was
kidnapped and sent to Afghanistan to be interrogated as a
terrorism suspect.

The American Civil Liberties Union, in a release issued on
Friday, alleged that "CIA officials at the highest level
violated U.S. and universal human rights laws" when CIA agents
seized an unidentified man and flew him to a secret prison in
Afghanistan near Kabul called the "Salt Pit."

The ACLU said the lawsuit would be the first legal
challenge of a practice known as "extraordinary rendition," and
will be filed in court on Tuesday. It did not say when or in
which country the alleged kidnapping took place.

At a news conference in Washington that day, the man
represented by the ACLU will appear and state that
CIA-authorized agents abducted, beat and drugged him before
sending him to the secret Afghanistan facility, the group said.

The man is innocent, the ACLU said, and was held without
notice for an undisclosed time before being released without
ever being charged of a crime. An ACLU spokesman declined to
give additional details about the case or the plaintiff.

The ACLU said the lawsuit will also involve unidentified
companies that owned and operated airplanes used to transport
the plaintiff.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to
respond to concerns from the European Union about prisoner
treatment next week before leaving for a European visit.

For almost a month, the United States has been on the
defensive, refusing to deny or confirm media reports the United
States has held prisoners in secret in Eastern Europe and
transported detainees incommunicado across the continent.

The European Union has demanded that Washington address the
allegations to allay fears of illegal U.S. practices. The
concerns are rampant among the European public and parliaments,
already critical of U.S. prisoner-abuse scandals in Iraq and
Guantanamo, Cuba.