First US Citizen Sues Feds for Rendition
NJ man alleges interrogation, coercion in Somalia, Egypt
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2009 9:06 AM CST
This photo taken by a US consular officer and submitted by the subject's father, Mohamed Meshal, shows Amir Meshal filling out a US passport application on April 4, 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.   (AP Photo/Congressman Rush Holt's office via Mohamed Meshal, file)

(Newser) – A New Jersey man yesterday became the first US citizen to sue the federal government for "rendition," the extrajudicial transfer of terrorism suspects between countries. Arrested in Kenya in 2007, Amir Meshal was secretly flown to Somalia, then to Ethiopia, where he claims US agents repeatedly threatened him with "torture, forced disappearance, and execution in order to coerce him to confess to wrongdoing in which he had not engaged," the Washington Post reports.

Never charged with any crime, Meshal was eventually released and allowed to return to the US. He is now suing two FBI agents and two federal officials for violation of his constitutional rights. Previous lawsuits challenging rendition have struck out in court, but Meshal's ACLU lawyers believe that his status as a US citizen sets his case apart.