[US Human Rights Abuses] Netherlands Calls Keeping Open CIA Prisons Unacceptable

THE HAGUE, 14/09/06 – The Netherlands does not accept the wish of the US to keep on secret prisons for terrorist suspects, according to Foreign Minister Ben Bot. Together with his EU partners, he wants to try to draw up a clear political statement against the use of such prisons.

The Lower House held an emergency debate with Bot yesterday on the recent disclosure by US President George W. Bush that the US uses and will continue to use secret CIA detention centres for the reception of terrorists. The entire House called on Bot to do everything to convince the US to halt the use of secret prisons.

Bot had repeatedly asked his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice whether rumours about the existence of foreign CIA prisons were true, but was told she knew nothing of this. Bush’s revelation was therefore an “immense disappointment,” according to the minister. The question has caused “a dent” in the mutual trust relationship with the Americans.

After Bush’s disclosure, Bot received assurances last week in a “frank conversation” with Rice that the Netherlands has not been used for the secret CIA programme. As far as that goes, there is “no question of a breakdown in trust,” added Bot. Rice did not however wish to tell him whether other European countries were in fact involved in the programme.

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The publishers of Apologetics Index, which includes Religion News Blog, have long been outspoken critics of America’s human rights abuses and of George Bush in personally. Due to his behavior – which includes lying, the support and promotion of torture, and illegal warfare – we do not accept George Bush’s claim of being a Christian. We are appaled that so many of America´s Christians vote for someone merely because he or she claims to be a Christian.

“The Netherlands does not accept that a system of secret prisons should continue to exist,” stressed Bot. Now that the CIA programme is idle, he wants to avail of the opportunity together with the EU to convince the Americans that there is another, equally effective way of interrogating terrorist suspects and yet ensuring a decent procedure. This could, for example, be done by closing the loophole which currently exists in the Geneva conventions on the treatment of people who do not come into the category of prisoners-of-war and can also not be characterised as ordinary criminals.

Labour (PvdA), the centre-left D66, leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) and socialists (SP) were harshest in their criticisms. “The US has become deaf and blind to its allies,” said PvdA MP Bert Koenders. “There is a breakdown in trust,” found D66 MP Fatma Koser Kaya. For the SP, the US has, by its “lying behaviour, qualified for the list of rogue states,” according to MP Harry van Bommel.

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NIS News Bulletin, Netherlands
Sep. 14, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday September 14, 2006.
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