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Europe: Renditions - Amnesty response to Council of Europe findings

New report comes after ‘ghost detainees’ prisoner list published

Responding to today’s Council of Europe report into “renditions” and secret detentions, Amnesty International said:

“Amnesty International applauds the report and the extraordinary investigative work undertaken by Mr Marty’s office in getting to the well-concealed truth about the US-led secret detention programme.

“With European complicity now clear, we believe it is time for states to take a long, hard look at how the misuse of state secrecy and national security doctrine has led them into a ‘legal and moral quagmire’, where secret detention, torture and other grave abuses can be practised with impunity.”

Today’s report comes after yesterday’s publication by Amnesty International and five other organisations of a new list naming 39 “ghost detainees” known to have been in US custody, prisoners who were almost certainly subject to rendition and whose present whereabouts remain unknown. Today’s report also coincides with the start in Italy this morning of a trial over the alleged rendition in 2003 of a man who was reportedly secretly taken to Egypt and subjected to torture.

Today’s report is the second by the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, and it confirms that the CIA has operated secret detention centres in Poland and Romania, and perhaps in other Council of Europe member states as well.

The report strengthens Amnesty International’s finding that three former secret detainees, whose cases were extensively documented over a year ago, had been held in an Eastern European "black site".

Swiss Senator Dick Marty, who lead the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, has made clear that collusion with the United States at the highest levels of government came not just from the countries most directly involved in the secret detention programme, but also from all the members and partners of NATO who signed up to terms that allowed free reign to CIA operations.

And his report deplores the fact that state secrecy or national security have been invoked by many governments to obstruct judicial and/or parliamentary proceedings aimed at ensuring accountability of governments in relation to grave allegations of human rights violations.

Amnesty International supports unequivocally the position that “terrorism can and must be combated by methods consistent with human rights and rule of law”, and calls for the United States and European countries to end renditions and secret detention, conduct independent and thorough investigations into such practices, and bring to justice those responsible for abuse and provide reparations to the victims.

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