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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Extraordinary rendition of a U.S. citizen - it could happen to you...!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Extraordinary rendition of a U.S. citizen - it could happen to you...!

note: mr. meshal was never charged...
"U.S. officials repeatedly threatened Mr. Meshal with torture, forced disappearance, and execution in order to coerce him to confess to wrongdoing in which he had not engaged and to associations that he did not have," according to the lawsuit [the suit, brought on behalf of Amir Meshal by the American Civil Liberties Union, is the first by a U.S. citizen seeking damages for the practice of "rendition," the extrajudicial transfer of terrorist suspects between countries], which targets two FBI agents, identified as Chris Higgenbotham and Steve Hersem, and two unidentified U.S. officials who allegedly questioned Meshal in Kenya and Ethiopia.

A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment, citing the Justice Department's policy in civil litigation cases.

Meshal, a Muslim born to Egyptian parents, traveled to Somalia in 2006 "to enrich his study of Islam," according to the lawsuit. Mogadishu, the Somali capital, had recently come under the control of a militia known as the Islamic Courts Union. Later that year, the U.S.- and Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government of Somalia launched a military offensive and took back the city.

As he fled the fighting, Meshal was picked up in Kenya, near the Somali border, and held at the behest of U.S. officials, often in filthy and crowded cells, according to the lawsuit. He was repeatedly questioned by FBI agents who threatened to send him to Israel or Egypt unless he acknowledged ties to al-Qaeda, the lawsuit alleges.

Meshal signed a document waiving counsel, but the lawsuit claims that the FBI told him doing so was the only way he would get home, effectively leaving him no choice.

When a Kenyan human rights group filed a habeas petition on behalf of Meshal and other foreigners picked up at the border with Somalia, the American was secretly flown back to Somalia, where he was held for a number of days, before being taken to Ethiopia. He was also questioned repeatedly by U.S. agents in Ethiopia before finally being allowed to return to the United States on May 26, 2007, the suit says.

mr. meshal is now back home in new jersey...

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