To the pitifully few who have followed him over the years, Khaled El-Masri is the man who arguably holds the world's record of unsuccessful attempts to get his "day in court." He has knocked on courtroom doors all over the US and some overseas venues as well, and has each time been rebuffed.
This Wednesday he will try one more time. He will pursue Justice in the Grand Chamber of the European Court, which will hold a hearing on May 16, 2012. At the last hearing of this case, Macedonia entered an unbroken series of denials -- no, it did not collude with the CIA to kidnap El-Masri from Germany. No, it did not seize his passport and force him to spend a month in a Macedonian hotel, interrogated without a lawyer, without contact with his family, and without the foggiest idea of why he was being held.
What El-Masri is seeking from the Macedonians is a fullblown investigation into his kidnapping and abuse. And while he is waiting, there are grim signs that El-Masri, the human being, is continuing his descent into chaos and confusion.
But even Macedonia's denials -- whether true or not -- don't begin to paint even a remotely accurate picture of what has happened to this Lebanese-born German citizen. To understand how he has come to where he has come to, it's necessary to go back in history to a time when the never-ending black clouds began to gather over El-Masri's head.
Rewind to 2004:
The Open Society Justice Initiative, (OSJI), which is El-Masri's counsel for the Macedonia case, charges that the Macedonians stopped him at the border, confiscated his passport and other papers, and held him without charge for 23 days, accusing him of being a member of Al-Qaida.
They then drove him to the capitol's Skopje airport and handed him to a CIA rendition team who flew El-Masri to Kabul as part of the U.S. "Extraordinary Rendition" program, where he was detained for four
months. The government of Macedonia denies any involvement in his abduction.
Every attempt at justice has failed. El-Masri seeks an investigation to discover the truth.