Azara Blog: Council of Europe report on US torture allegations

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Date published: 2005/12/13

The BBC says:

Allegations that the CIA abducted and illegally transported terror suspects across European borders are credible, an investigator has said.

Swiss senator Dick Marty has submitted a report on the claims, made in the media, to a meeting of the human rights committee of the Council of Europe.

Mr Marty criticised the US for refusing to confirm or deny the allegations.

The US government and its intelligence agencies say that all their operations are conducted within the law.

Mr Marty's findings were released in an official statement by a committee of the 46-member Council of Europe, the continent's human rights watchdog.

"The elements we have gathered so far tend to reinforce the credibility of the allegations concerning the transport and temporary detention of detainees - outside all judicial procedure - in European countries," he said.

He went on: "Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards."

The BBC's Alix Kroeger in Strasbourg says the strongly worded report will add to the pressure for more in-depth inquiries.

The European Union has so far declined to investigate, although it has said any member state with secret prisons on its territory could have its EU voting rights suspended.

Poland and Romania have been named by the media as possible locations of CIA secret prisons, but have denied the allegations.

In his statement, he said it was "still too early to assert that there had been any involvement or complicity of member states in illegal actions".

But, he warned, if the allegations proved correct any European states involved "would stand accused of having seriously breached their human rights obligations to the Council of Europe".

However, Mr Marty told a news conference he believed any prisoners held secretly by the US in Europe had now been moved to North Africa.

Tony Lloyd, a member of the Council's parliamentary assembly, told the BBC the charges that people may have been effectively kidnapped and taken to other countries for possible torture "were of such magnitude that they have to have proper answers".

Mr Marty urged the US to comment formally on the allegations, saying he "deplore[d] the fact that no information or explanations" were given during last week's tour of Europe by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

It's been clear for years that the American government is up to no good. It's hard to believe this report will change anything. Bush does not care what anybody else thinks. The fact that the Bush administration claims that "all their operations are conducted within the law" is irrelevant since the administration also believes that anything that Bush says is within the law is within the law.

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