CIA renditions unlawful: Amnesty

2010-11-15 23:17

Brussels - European governments should not follow the United States' reluctance to shed light on unlawful intelligence operations carried out against suspected Islamist terrorists, Amnesty International said in a report published on Monday.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has allegedly secretly abducted and detained suspected al-Qaeda affiliates, including in Europe, in a practice that has become known as "secret renditions".

While lamenting America's "systematic failure to address these past violations," Amnesty acknowledged that over the past two years "there has been some notable progress toward accountability for European governments' role in the CIA-operated ... programmes."

"We simply can't allow Europe to join the US in becoming an 'accountability-free' zone.

"The tide is slowly turning with some countries starting investigations, but much more needs to be done," the head of Amnesty's EU office, Nicolas Beger, said in a statement.

Public enquiries have been launched in Germany and Lithuania. One was promised in Britain. And Italian magistrates delivered the first- ever convictions for secret renditions, the organisation's report pointed out.

In Poland, magistrates are investigating the existence of secret prisons, while official flight data confirmed that CIA secret flights had touched down in the country.


In Sweden, the government compensated two Egyptian asylum-seekers abducted from their country in 2001 by US intelligence, but failed to launch an inquiry into the incidents.

In Macedonia, another abductee may obtain justice after the European Court of Human Rights accepted his appeal.

Amnesty also pointed the finger at Romania for persisting in "implausible denials" of its involvement in the CIA operations.

Amnesty said European developments were in stark contrast with the US, where, despite President Barack Obama's rhetoric on respecting human rights while fighting terrorism, state secrecy laws have quashed all attempts to obtain judicial redress for CIA renditions.

Calling on European governments to refrain from using the same methods, and urging them to strengthen civilian oversight on intelligence and security services, Amnesty concluded that "Europe is fertile ground for accountability."