Renditions: New report accuses European governments of complicity and inaction

· Amnesty issues ‘Six-point Plan’ to combat ‘torture flights’
· New letter to David Miliband on UK rendition victim Binyam Mohamed

Amnesty International has today accused European governments of complicity and inaction over US-led rendition and secret detention, as it published a new report on European renditions and a “Six-point Plan” for their prevention.

The report focuses on a number of notorious rendition cases, one of whom is Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national and UK resident, rendered in 2002, allegedly tortured in Morocco and now detained for nearly fours years without trial at Guantánamo Bay.

Mr Mohamed’s US military lawyer is extremely concerned for his physical and mental health and Amnesty International has today written to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband seeking his urgent intervention. In particular, Amnesty is urging that Mr Miliband request Binyam Mohamed’s immediate transfer from the harsh environment of Guantánamo’s “Camp 5” to a less oppressive camp at Guantánamo.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“From all accounts Binyam Mohamed is in a desperate state and we’re asking Mr Miliband to use his influence with the American authorities to seek Binyam’s immediate transfer to a less harsh environment.

“Guantánamo is built on an entire network of rendition and secret detention - it’s yet another example of how everything about Guantánamo is a travesty of justice.

“European governments have played a disreputable role in rendition and they are still in a state of denial about this. It’s time for proper investigations and for the full renditions story to come out.”

Amnesty’s report criticises European nations for providing a “helping hand” in the detention of individuals who were then transferred without due process into the hands of the CIA or other US agents. Alongside cases involving Sweden, Germany, Italy, Macedonia and Bosnia, the report raises questions about the UK’s role in the detention and later transfer of UK national Martin Mubanga, UK residents Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna, as well as Binyam Mohamed. All were handed over to the US in third countries (ie neither the UK or the US) and all were subsequently taken to Guantánamo.

Amnesty’s report is particularly scathing about the lack of action taken by European governments since the issue of renditions has been made public. To bridge what it sees as an “accountability gap”, the organisation is urging all European countries to adopt a Six-point Plan on renditions. This would see governments condemning the practice, initiating independent investigations, ensuring oversight of intelligence agencies, refusing to assist in improper transfers, bringing perpetrators to justice, and providing reparation for past victims.

Amnesty is also recommending that all governments establish the requirement that any aircraft seeking permission to travel across or land in European territory must indicate whether it is carrying any passengers who are deprived of their liberty, giving their status and the legal basis for their transfer.

Amnesty is also calling on the UK government to sign and ratify the UN Convention on Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This would provide important protections against some of the worst abuses of rendition and secret detention. Amnesty is concerned that the UK is fast being left behind by other European states that have already taken this important step.

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