Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Also from the Babel Cutting Room Floors...

Maybe I'm not the only one who didn't know that last month the German citizen whom the CIA kidnapped in Albania and tortured in Afghanistan, Khaled El-Masri, was sent to a psychiatric hospital after he set a store on fire. Here's more, from The Independent:

Yesterday it emerged that Masri's arson attack was the latest in a long line of acts of desperation that appeared to stem from the deep psychological trauma he had been suffering from since his captivity.

Prosecutors said that Masri also faced charges for allegedly attacking an instructor who had been teaching him how to drive lorries. They said Masri had lost his temper after the instructor criticised him for failing to attend his lessons.

Prior to his arson attack on the Metro supermarket, they said Masri had spat in the face of one of the store's female staff after she refused to take back an iPod he had bought there.

I learned of this just now in an email from my Chair, who told me that she just learned her panel next month at the Law and Society Association meetings in Berlin would not be including El-Masri, as had been planned, because he in a hospital for arson. "Germans decided to put him in mental institution instead of prison because they are sensitive that he might have lost some good sense in the Salt Pit...," she wrote.

Just found the very short story that the NYTimes did on this and El-Masri's lawyer makes a devastating point against the judicial and social welfare system that has so badly failed El-Masri in his efforts to be compensated for his trauma:

I have asked several times from the beginning for psychological help, but without any luck,'' Mr. Gnjidic said. ''The very ironic thing is that he will get psychological help now, after he committed a crime, and as a torture victim didn't get it before, when he asked for it.''

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