Rene — Europe 'complicit over CIA jails'

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Europe ‘complicit over CIA jails’
2006/01/14 17:44:32 GMT
A Swiss senator carrying out an inquiry into claims the CIA has run illegal
secret detention centres in Europe has said he has no doubt they exist.
Dick Marty accused the US of violating human rights and attacked European
nations for their “shocking” passivity in the face of such violations.
He is due to give a preliminary report to the Council of Europe on 23
The US has refused to confirm or deny the allegations over secret prisons. It
has denied using or condoning torture.
Mr Marty was asked to lead the inquiry by the Council of Europe, the
continent’s human rights watchdog, after the claims surfaced late last year.
What was shocking was the passivity with which we all, in Europe, have
welcomed these things
Dick Marty
Speaking to journalists in Switzerland, he said he was personally convinced
the US had undertaken illegal activities in Europe in transporting and
detaining prisoners.
However, he acknowledged he had yet to produce concrete proof and said he
expected his inquiry to last another 12 months.
“The question is: was the CIA really working in Europe?” he said. “I believe
we can say today, without a doubt, yes.”
Washington’s policy “respects neither human rights nor the Geneva
Conventions”, he said.
He cited as evidence the case of Egyptian cleric and terror suspect Osama
Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, who was allegedly kidnapped by CIA
agents from Milan in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation.
‘Dirty work’
Mr Marty also criticised European governments for failing to act when it
seemed clear they knew about the US policy.
“It’s not possible to transport people from one place to another in such a
manner without the secret services knowing about it,” he said.
Founded in 1949 and based in Strasbourg, France
Forty-six members, 21 of them from Central and Eastern Europe
Set up to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law
Acts as human rights watchdog for Europe
Oversees the European Court of Human Rights
Comprises a decision-making committee of ministers and 630-member
parliamentary assembly
“What was shocking was the passivity with which we all, in Europe, have
welcomed these things.
“Europeans should be less hypocritical and not turn a blind eye. There are
those who do the dirty work abroad but there are also those who know when they
should close their eyes when that dirty work is being done.”
Mr Marty said it was unfair to single out for criticism Romania and Poland,
both named in media reports as possible sites for the centres. Both have
denied involvement.
Governments across Europe had been “willingly silent”, he said, and it was
now time for Europeans to decide whether they would continue to tolerate the
illegal actions of the CIA.
Egyptian document leaked
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Bern says Mr Marty’s comments come amid growing
controversy within Switzerland over the leak of classified information from
the Swiss intelligence service.
The document appears to confirm the existence of secret CIA interrogation
centres in several Eastern European countries, she says.
It contains details of an Egyptian government fax which was intercepted by
Switzerland’s intelligence service in November.
The fax suggests the Egyptian government knew through its own sources that
the CIA was running secret interrogation centres for terror suspects in
Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Kosovo.
The fax – which was on its way from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo to
its embassy in London – was intercepted by Switzerland’s satellite listening
system, written up in a classified document and passed to senior Swiss
intelligence officers and also, it’s believed, to government ministers.
Investigations have been launched into the source of the leak to the
SonntagsBlick newspaper and against the two journalists who published the details.