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German human rights group files suit against CIA 'Queen of Torture'

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CIA torturerA German human rights group has filed a criminal complaint against Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, a CIA official who allegedly authorized torture of suspected al Qaeda militants. The complaint, submitted in federal court on Mondaynon, presents proof of Bikowsky’s involvement in the torture of German citizen Khaled El Masri and asks that she be prosecuted in Germany.

It also puts Bikowsky, nicknamed the “Queen of Torture,” in the spotlight of European efforts to hold CIA officials accountable for allegations of abuse.

In 2003, Macedonian agents, mistaking El Masri for a suspected member of the 9/11 plot, seized the Kuwaiti-born car salesman as he was on his way to Skopje, the capital, for vacation, holding him for 23 days. Even after a CIA official warned her that El Masri was a victim of mistaken identity, Bikowsky, then deputy head of the CIA’s Alec Station — the unit in charge of tracking Osama bin Laden — insisted on having El Masri flown to Afghanistan for further questioning.

After four months in Afghanistan, where he was violently interrogated, El Masri was put on a CIA flight to Albania and returned to Germany. “There are already arrest warrants in Germany for the air crew who flew El Masri to Afghanistan so we’re simply following the chain of command,” said Andreas Schüller, head of the International Crimes and Accountability Program at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Berlin-based human rights legal organization that submitted the complaint against Bikowsky.

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