MEPs urge governments to come clean on camps

7th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 September 2006, STRASBOURG/BRUSSELS - European governments must reveal what they knew about US-run detention centres on the continent, senior European Union lawmakers said Thursday, raising pressure on Poland and Romania which are suspected of having hosted such camps. "Any EU governments that were aware of these camps must now come clean," said German Green Euro MP Cem Ozdemir, member of a European Parliament committee probing alleged CIA activities on the continent. "It seems unlikely that the Bush adm

7 September 2006

STRASBOURG/BRUSSELS - European governments must reveal what they knew about US-run detention centres on the continent, senior European Union lawmakers said Thursday, raising pressure on Poland and Romania which are suspected of having hosted such camps.

"Any EU governments that were aware of these camps must now come clean," said German Green Euro MP Cem Ozdemir, member of a European Parliament committee probing alleged CIA activities on the continent.

"It seems unlikely that the Bush administration was the only government to conceal the truth," Ozdemir said.

Singling out Poland and Romania which are suspected of having hosted such camps, Ozdemir told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that pressure on Warsaw and Bucharest to reveal their involvement was mounting.

US President George W Bush's acknowledgement that secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) exist "comes as little surprise and confirms the evidence ... uncovered by the European Parliament's inquiry," Ozdemir said.

"We need to know if there has been any complicity in illegal acts by governments of EU countries or states seeking EU membership," said Socialist MEP Wolfgang Kreissl-Doerffler, calling on the US to make the locations of secret CIA camps public.

MEPs have said that they will go on fact-finding missions to Romania and Poland in the coming months.

Europe's top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, earlier this year charged that the two countries had hosted clandestine CIA camps. Bucharest and Warsaw, however, deny the allegation.

Council President Rene Van der Linden on Thursday bashed the US government for acting like a "criminal" in its so-called war on terror.

"Kidnapping people and torturing them in secret - however tempting the short-term gain may appear to be - is what criminals do, not democratic governments," he said.

"In the long term, such practices create more terrorists and undermine the values we are fighting for," he warned, adding: "Europe will have no part in such a degrading system."

Van der Linden said methods that the US used in its war against terror were breaking international human rights conventions and only helped terrorists to destroy the rule of law.

He also urged the US to give all detainees allegedly transferred to the Pentagon-operated detention centre Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "a fair trial, fully in line with international and human rights law."

Bush on Wednesday for the first time acknowledged that the CIA was running secret prisons for holding and interrogating high-level al- Qaeda figures that have been captured since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Since media reports revealed the CIA operation last November, Bush and other members of his administration have refused to publicly discuss the programme.

The US president also said that 14 high-profile terror detainees had been transferred from CIA custody to Guantanamo Bay, for possible prosecution, adding that they would be protected by the Geneva Conventions.

The 46-member Council of Europe in Strasbourg is the continent's top human rights watchdog and is independent from the EU.

Its final report on a six-months-long inquiry into the CIA charges said that several European states had helped the US carry out "extraordinary rendition" flights, the US practice of transporting detainees to other states for interrogation.

Conducting a separate probe into the controversial issue, European lawmakers in June agreed to extend their investigation with a focus on trying to find out whether Romania and Poland have hosted illegal CIA prisons.

Clandestine detention centres, secret flights via or from Europe to countries where suspects could face torture, or extraordinary renditions would all breach the continent's human-rights conventions.

DPA

Subject: German news

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