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Extraordinary rendition is an American extra-judicial procedure which involves the sending of untried criminal suspects, generally suspected terrorists or alleged supporters of groups which the US Government considers to be terrorist organizations, to countries other than the United States for imprisonment and interrogation.
In a number of cases, such as, reportedly, that of Khalid el-Masri, the practice of "extraordinary rendition" has been applied on innocent civilians, and the CIA has reportedly launched an investigation into such cases (which it refers to as "erroneous rendition"). In el-Masri's case, he may have been mistaken for another man with a similar name, Khalid al-Masri. The introduction of the term "errorneous rendition" should not be interpreted to mean that extraordinary rendition of any intended subject is legal.
Although rendition is not new, the current US policy, of "extraordinary rendition," appears to be different in nature and its usage as tool in the US-led "war on terror" to apprehend suspected terrorists but not place them before a court of law is new.
According to Swiss councillor Dick Marty's January 2006 memorandum on "alleged detention in Council of Europe states", about a hundred persons had been kidnapped by the CIA on European territory and subsequently rendered to countries where they may have been tortured. This number of a hundred persons does not overlap, but adds itself to the U.S. detained 100 ghost detainees.