Thu, Feb 01, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Germany issues arrest warrants for 13 CIA `kidnappers'

AP , BERLIN

Arrest warrants have been issued for 13 suspected CIA agents in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a German citizen, a Munich prosecutor said yesterday.

Prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld said the warrants were issued in the last few days against the 13 on suspicion of false imprisonment and causing seriously bodily harm.

Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, says he was abducted in December 2003 at the Serbian-Macedonian border and flown by the CIA to a detention center in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was abused.

Al-Masri says he was released in Albania in May 2004 after the CIA discovered it had taken the wrong person.

None of the suspects were identified. However, Schmidt-Sommerfeld said in a later statement that "the personal details contained in the arrest warrants are, according to our current knowledge, aliases of CIA agents."

"Further investigation will, among other things, concentrate on trying to determine the clear identities of the suspects," he added.

Germany's NDR television released a list of the names of the 13 -- 11 men and 2 women -- it said its reporters had obtained. It said three had been contacted by its reporters but that all had refused comment.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other US officials have declined to address the case. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the US has acknowledged making a mistake with al-Masri.

Elsewhere, Italian authorities are seeking the arrest of 26 Americans, all but one believed to be CIA agents, in connection with the 2003 kidnapping in Milan of Egyptian cleric and terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr.

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