Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pesky German Lawmakers annoy Angela Merkel by actually wanting to follow the law.

Bid to arrest CIA rendition team splits German cabinet

Berlin - A German prosecutor's request for the arrest of 10 US men suspected of forming a CIA rendition team has split the German government, the news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

A parliamentary inquiry in Berlin has heard Lebanese-born German national, Khaled el-Masri, testify that he was detained in Macedonia and held in a jail in Afghanistan for several months in 2004 on suspicion of terrorism.

The Munich prosecutor has asked Berlin to formally request US police to arrest and extradite 10 alleged agents.

Der Spiegel said senior ministers debated the issue in Chancellor Angela Merkel's office on Wednesday, with Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble opposed and arguing that the request would ruin German-US intelligence cooperation.

Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries had argued that the request should be passed on to Washington to formally complete the inquiry.

An official of her ministry, which has the final say, confirmed Saturday that the issue was still the subject of 'intense discussion.'

Der Spiegel said US diplomats have objected vocally to the whole German inquiry into el-Masri's ordeal.

The practice of extraordinary rendition - arresting people outside the United States and holding them abroad beyond the reach of US courts - has caused fierce controversy in Europe.

German law allows prosecution of crimes against German nationals anywhere in the world, though no German officials really expect the US to actually extradite its own agents for trial.

Original article posted here.

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