Obama’s First Rendition…Accused of Bribery

Thursday, August 20, 2009

President Barack Obama’s vision for creating “a better, freer world” apparently includes the continued use of renditions to capture fugitives in foreign countries wanted by federal authorities. Instead of working through normal diplomatic channels to have a suspect extradited, the Obama administration is willing to send agents overseas to capture wanted individuals—even if their crimes are more of the white-collar variety, such as bribery.

Case in point is Raymond Azar, who has the distinction of being the first individual to be rendered since Obama took office. The 45-year-old Lebanese construction manager was grabbed, along with colleague Dinorah Cobos, by FBI agents in Afghanistan for allegedly bribing a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract officer with $100,000 so that his company would be paid for work never performed.
Azar has claimed that the agents subjected him to some of the same methods employed against terrorism suspects during the Bush years. His harsh treatment supposedly included threats against his family, being hooded, stripped naked (while being photographed) and subjected to a “body cavity search” and coercive interrogation techniques that induced him to sign a confession.
Azar’s attorneys have sought in federal court to suppress his confession, arguing it was obtained through torture and that Azar, a native Arabic speaker, did not understand English well enough to have given it.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Obama's Bold New Method of Fighting Contract Fraud (Project on Government Oversight)
Target of Obama-Era Rendition Alleges Torture (by Scott Horton, Huffington Post)


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