Khaled El-Masri v Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Legal Case

On 31 December 2003 Khaled El-Masri, a German national of Lebanese origin, living in Germany, was arrested by Macedonian agents and held incommunicado at a hotel for 23 days.  He was accused of being a member of Al-Qaida.  He was then handed over to a CIA rendition team at Skopje airport who beat, stripped and drugged him and then flew him to Kabul.   Mr El-Masri was then detained in Afghanistan for 4 months in inhuman and degrading conditions.  He was released in Albania on 28 May 2004.

When he arrived back in Germany, Mr El Masri brought a case against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the European Court of Human Rights for its role in his extraordinary rendition and torture. 

In 2011 REDRESS was granted permission to file an amicus brief with the Court focussing on the rights to an adequate investigation, remedy and reparation in this context. REDRESS instructed Timothy Otty QC and Simon Pritchard of Blackstone Chambers to assist drafting its submissions and clinical psychologist Dr Mary Robertson to prepare an expert report.

In 2012 the Court announced that the case had been relinquished to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.  REDRESS filed updated submissions with the Grand Chamber in April 2012. 

The case was heard by the Grand Chamber on 16 May 2012.  On 13 December 2012 the Grand Chamber delivered its judgment, finding Macedonia responsible for the torture, secret rendition and detention of Mr El Masri, and a failure to investigate his allegations and provide a remedy (violations of Arts. 3, 5, 8 and 13).  It ordered Macedonia to pay Mr El Masri 60,000 Euros in compensation.


REDRESS previously submitted a third party intervention in Mr El-Masri’s case filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2009 (see here).

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