Press Releases
Rendition Victim Seeks Second Chance at Justice

Case against Djibouti Demonstrates Urgent Need for Transparency about CIA Rendition Program

(NEW YORK) – New evidence confirms Djibouti’s key role in the CIA extraordinary rendition program and the secret detention of Mohammed al-Asad, according to the NYU Global Justice Clinic, which represents Mr. al-Asad in a case against Djibouti before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The African Commission recently ruled that Mr. al-Asad’s case could not go forward, citing Djibouti’s denials of involvement. However, details leaked from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA torture reveal that Djibouti played an important role in the rendition program. Today’s submission asks the Commission to review its decision and hear Mr. al-Asad’s case on the basis of this and other new evidence.

Mr. al-Asad, a Yemeni national, was wrongfully detained, tortured, and secretly interrogated in Djibouti for several weeks in 2003 and 2004 before being forcibly transferred to a series of CIA “black sites.” He endured 16 months of secret detention before he was transferred to Yemen in 2005, where he was eventually released in 2006 without ever being charged with a terrorism-related crime. More than ten years since his abduction, Mr. al-Asad has yet to obtain redress for what he suffered.

The Global Justice Clinic filed a complaint against Djibouti on behalf of Mr. al-Asad before the Commission in 2009. Earlier this year, the Commission decided not to hear Mr. al-Asad’s case. The decision relied in part on Djibouti’s denials of involvement in Mr. al-Asad’s rendition. Details leaked about the still-classified report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on CIA torture have since confirmed that, contrary to its public denials, Djibouti played an important role as a secret detention site in the rendition program. Those leaks also reveal that at least two people were wrongfully detained in Djibouti.

“These revelations about Djibouti’s role in the CIA rendition program provide strong support for Mr. al-Asad’s case,” said NYU Law Professor Margaret Satterthwaite. “At the same time, the Commission’s decision demonstrates the urgent need for the release of the Senate’s CIA torture report. Releasing the report will have a real impact on victims still seeking the truth. The abuses committed by CIA partners must no longer be hidden behind a veil of official secrecy.”

“My life and that of my family has been unjustly ruined,” said Mohammed al-Asad. “I know that my claims are true and that we cannot give up. I continue to hope that the African Commission will give me some justice for what was taken from me.”

“Mr. al-Asad deserves to have his case heard,” said Satterthwaite. “We urge the African Commission to reconsider its decision in light of this new evidence confirming Djibouti’s complicity in the CIA rendition program. The Commission cannot let American secrecy trump African human rights guarantees.”

Contact: Margaret Satterthwaite: +1-212-998-6657/+1-347-277-5035/ 



Your information has been sent successfully!