Algerian Tells of Dark Odyssey in U.S. Hands

Algerian Tells of Dark Odyssey in U.S. Hands - New York Times:
In a recent interview, Mr. Saidi, 43, said that after he was expelled he was handed over to American agents and flown to Afghanistan, where he was held for 16 months before being delivered to Algeria and freed without ever being charged or told why he had been imprisoned. He acknowledged that he was carrying a fake passport when he was detained, but he said he had no connection to terrorism.

Wearing a white robe and a white skullcap in his lawyer's office here, he held up two white shoes he said his captors gave him before setting him free in August 2004. The only other physical evidence he offered of his imprisonment were fading scars on his wrists that he said were from having been chained to the ceiling of a cell for five days.

'Sometimes I cry and shake when I think about this,' he said in his first interview about his imprisonment. 'I didn't think I would see my family again.'


A Shadowy Program

Mr. Saidi is one of a handful of men to publicly claim they were seized in the rendition program and then mistreated or tortured, before being released without charge or explanation. Like prisoners released from the American military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, they represent not only a mounting political problem, but a potential legal problem for the United States and its allies that have participated in the extrajudicial abductions.

International fallout from renditions continued Wednesday when prosecutors in Milan arrested two Italian intelligence officers on allegations that they aided the C.I.A. in the 2003 kidnapping of a radical Egyptian cleric in Italy. The cleric was then sent to Egypt, where he has been imprisoned. Mr. Saidi was seized as the United States and Saudi Arabia were cracking down on Al Haramain, which the United States subsequently declared had provided "financial and other operational support" for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. But it is not known what, if any, specific suspicions the authorities had about Mr. Saidi.


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