Al-Masri’s Connections (The FAZ on Khaled Al-Masri)

Posted by John Rosenthal

On Thursday, Khaled Al-Masri, the Lebanese-born German citizen who is at the center of the CIA renditions controversy, was questioned by a sub-committee of the German Bundestag. Referring to his alleged seizure in Macedonia on New Year’s Eve 2003-4 and the 5 month period of detention in Afghanistan that is supposed to have followed, Al-Masri said: “I still don’t know why all this was done to me”. The following details from an article in the Wednesday edition (21 June) of the German daily the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) – most of which will be completely unknown to the American public – provide some obvious clues:

In the 1980s, Masri was a member of an armed Muslim organization in Lebanon by the name of Al Tawhid and is supposed to have led a group of 16 combatants. In 1985 Masri came to Germany and he received German citizenship in 1994…. According to the information of investigative authorities, Masri is supposed to have formed part of the milieu of the “Neu-Ulm Multicultural House” that was shut down by the authorities in 2005 and where combatants for the war in Chechnya are supposed to have been recruited and belligerent propaganda distributed. According to the information of Bavarian police officials, Masri served as a “contact to known Islamists”. In particular, Masri had connections to Reda Sayam, who is suspected of having direct connections to terrorism…. 

On 31 December 2003, Masri left home, allegedly after a marital spat with his wife, a Lebanese woman. He is supposed to have wanted to go to Macedonia for a cheap vacation…. Bavarian authorities took note of his disappearance, assuming that he had possibly left for a crisis region in order to take part in hostilities. Masri’s wife did not notify authorities about his disappearance. Instead, soon after her husband’s departure, she returned to Lebanon.

 For more on Al-Masri’s connections to the Lebanese Al-Tawhid organization, see this earlier Trans-Int report.

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