Probe backs CIA prison allegations

PARIS, France — European investigators say they have evidence that supports allegations the CIA “abducted and transferred” people between countries and temporarily held them “without any judicial involvement.”

“The information gathered to date has reinforced the credibility of the allegations concerning the transfer and temporary detention of individuals without any judicial involvement in European countries,” Swiss Senator Dick Marty said in a report Tuesday.

“Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards.”

The report by Marty, who heads the Council of Europe investigation, noted the allegations had never been formally denied by the United States.

It did not specify which countries were involved.

“It’s still too early to say if there has been any involvement or complicity of member states in illegal actions,” Marty said in the report to the human rights committee of the 46-nation council in Paris.

“The seriousness of the allegations and the consistency of the information gathered to date justifies an in-depth inquiry,” he said.

“If the allegations proved correct, the member states would stand accused of having seriously breached their human rights obligations to the Council of Europe.”

During a news conference Tuesday, Marty said he believed the United States was no longer holding prisoners secretly in Europe, The Associated Press reported.

Marty said he believed the detainees were moved to North Africa in early November, when reports about secret U.S. prisons first emerged in The Washington Post. He did not provide any other details, AP said.

Poland and Romania have been identified by the New York-based Human Rights watch as sites of possible CIA secret prisons. But both countries have denied any involvement.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced repeated questions about the allegations during her recent trip to Europe but denied that the United States used European airspace or airports to transport detainees to countries where officials believed they would be tortured.

Rice also denied that U.S. personnel engaged in torture, saying that U.S. interrogators abided by the Geneva Conventions.

The U.S. State Department contended as recently as last week that suspected terrorists are not protected by the Geneva Conventions because they are not prisoners of war.

However, a department spokesman said the United States applies the conventions to those suspected terrorists anyway.

In the past, the Bush Administration has said the conventions do not apply to Americans working outside U.S. borders.

— CNN producer Jonathan Wald contributed to this report

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Dec. 13, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday December 15, 2005.
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