'The US does not engage in torture': Rice

8th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 December 2005, BRUSSELS - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday firmly denied America was sending suspects to be tortured on foreign territory and insisted NATO airports had not been used to transfer detainees to places where they were abused.

8 December 2005

BRUSSELS - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday firmly denied America was sending suspects to be tortured on foreign territory and insisted NATO airports had not been used to transfer detainees to places where they were abused.

"The U.S. does not engage in torture, does not condone it and does not expect its employees (to do it)," Rice told reporters at a NATO foreign ministers meeting.

Replying to reports that the CIA has routed hundreds of so-called "rendition" flights carrying terror suspects through European airports, Rice insisted that no detainees had been taken to countries where they were tortured.

"We have not used airports or air space to transfer people to places we believe they are going to be tortured," Rice said.

She said Washington's policy was to "live up to both its international obligations and to U.S. law" both inside and outside its borders.

Rice said she welcomed the support she had received on the issue from other NATO ministers at the meeting.

She added that when the U.S. found abuses such as those carried out by American prison guards in Iraq, "it would investigate them and punish them".

"Because you are a democracy, does not mean you are perfect," Rice said.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said a lengthy discussion by NATO and European Union foreign ministers of the rendition flights and the alleged secret prisons in foreign countries run by CIA had "cleared the air".

The charges have dogged Rice through her four-nation European tour, including meetings with leaders in Germany, Romania and Ukraine.

DPA

Subject: German news

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