US 'outsourced' torture to European states: Marty

24th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 January 2006, STRASBOURG - Europe's top investigator into alleged secret CIA prisons in Europe said in a report Tuesday there was evidence that the United States was "outsourcing" torture to European countries.

24 January 2006

STRASBOURG - Europe's top investigator into alleged secret CIA prisons in Europe said in a report Tuesday there was evidence that the United States was "outsourcing" torture to European countries.

But Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said there was no formal evidence so far of the existence of clandestine CIA detention centres in Romania or Poland as alleged by the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Marty's preliminary report to the 46-nation Strasbourg-based body said "there is a great deal of coherent, convergent evidence pointing to the existence of a system of 'relocation' or 'outsourcing' of torture."

The report said: "'Rendition' affecting Europe seems to have concerned more than a hundred persons in recent years. Hundreds of CIA-chartered flights have passed through numerous European countries."

Marty underlined it was "highly unlikely that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were unaware" of the US practice.

"It has been proved ... that individuals have been abducted, deprived of their liberty and transported to different destinations in Europe, to be handed over to countries in which they have suffered degrading treatment and torture," the investigator said.

On the alleged existence of secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe, Marty said however: "There is no formal, irrefutable evidence of the existence of secret CIA detention centres in Romania, Poland or any other country."

The Swiss senator was presenting the conclusions of his nearly three months of investigations into media reports of US rendition of prisoners to countries tolerating torture and of the existence of secret CIA detention centres in eastern Europe.

Marty stressed that there were numerous indications from several reliable sources which would justify carrying out further investigations into the prison allegations.

He also said there was evidence pointing to illegal transport of prisoners in Europe, something which had not been denied by officials. The remark was in apparent reference to the Islamic cleric Abu Omar in Italy and the German national Khaled al-Masri.

The Council of Europe, which is separate from the EU, is the continent's top human rights watchdog.

It launched the probe after allegations surfaced last November that US agents interrogated key al-Qaeda suspects at secret prisons in eastern Europe and transported suspects to other countries via European airspace and airports.

New York-based Human Rights Watch last November claimed that Romania and Poland hosted clandestine US-run detention facilities. Both countries have denied involvement. Such centres would violate European human rights treaties, the EU has warned several times.

The investigator also said that on Monday he had received detailed information from Eurocontrol, the EU's air traffic agency, and satellite images including sites located on Romanian territory.

European Union Justice Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini welcomed Marty's report and called on the EU's national governments as well as the candidate countries to clarify their position.

He said countries must cooperate fully and promptly with the Council of Europe-led investigations.

But the EU did not draw any conclusions or issue judgements, "as we are still in the process of establishing facts," Frattini added.

The European Parliament last week also set up a special 46-member committee to investigate the allegations of secret CIA detention centres and flights across Europe.

The committee is expected to present its first findings this June and will work in tandem with the Council of Europe inquiry.

DPA

Subject: German news

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