When Khaled El-Masri boarded a bus to go from his home in Germany on a short holiday to Skopje, he could not have imagined the nightmare that awaited him.
North Macedonian border officials suspected Khaled’s passport was a fake and took him in for questioning. Khaled was then driven to a hotel where he was held for over three weeks and interrogated about alleged ties with terrorist groups.
Khaled’s requests to contact the German embassy were refused. When he threatened to leave, a gun was pointed at his head.
The North Macedonian authorities later took Khaled to Skopje airport, where he was handed over to a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “rendition” team, who beat, stripped, shackled and sodomised him.
Khaled was then put on a plane and flown from Skopje to Afghanistan.
Upon arrival, Khaled was driven to a secret CIA-run prison used for high-level terror suspects. He was held in a squalid cell for over four months and periodically interrogated. In protest at his confinement, Khaled went on a 37-day hunger strike.
Eventually, Khaled was flown to Albania and left by a roadside. From there, he made it back to Germany. He came home traumatised and eighteen kilograms lighter than when he left almost five months earlier.
Germany investigated Khaled’s case, later issuing warrants for thirteen CIA agents who were allegedly involved in the “rendition” operation. North Macedonia refused to investigate his complaints.