Germany 'does not torture terrorism suspects'

16th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 December 2005, BERLIN - Germany does not torture terrorism suspects, a government spokesman said Friday, two days after Berlin confirmed that its security services had interviewed two German nationals in foreign jails who are suspected of terrorism.

16 December 2005

BERLIN - Germany does not torture terrorism suspects, a government spokesman said Friday, two days after Berlin confirmed that its security services had interviewed two German nationals in foreign jails who are suspected of terrorism.

Germany abides strictly by the international prohibition of torture and there are no "grey zones", deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said in Berlin. The rule applies to all federal German security personnel, he added.

On Wednesday, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble disclosed that federal police had interviewed one of the men, Mohammed Haidar Sammar, in Damascus, Syria. A security service he did not identify interviewed another suspect in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Steg said the decision to conduct these interviews had been taken at the highest level.

"All the relevant authorities in the federal government were consulted in this decision," he said.

The spokesman said Germany was unable to provide the usual consular aid to Sammar as a German national because Syrian rejected this, maintaining that Sammar was a Syrian citizen. News reports in Germany say he was naturalized as a German more than two decades ago.

Sammar was allegedly an al-Qaeda operative who recruited some of the suicide hijackers to conduct the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. News reports claim he was later captured by U.S. agents in Morocco and transferred to Syrian custody.

The second suspect detained abroad, Murat Kurnaz, a German of Turkish origin, is in U.S. hands at Guantanamo after being captured in Afghanistan.

DPA

Subject: German news

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