Amnesty Says European Governments Fall Short on Probing Rendition RoleBy Lisa Bryant
24 June 2008
A new report by Amnesty International accuses European governments of doing nothing to investigate long-standing accusations of aiding the U.S. government in illegally transporting and detaining suspected terrorists. For VOA, Lisa Bryant has more from Paris.
Released Tuesday, the Amnesty report described European governments as being in a state of denial over their alleged role in so-called extraordinary renditions - a practice in which the U.S. government flies foreign terror suspects for interrogation and detention without any judicial process.
Accusations of such European involvement are not new - the Council of Europe and the European Parliament have issued highly critical reports on the subject.
But Amnesty claims to shed more light on Europe's reported involvement - and Amnesty's counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Gorevan condemns Europe's lack of response to the allegations.
"One of the main conclusions of the report is that European governments, European institutions have effectively done nothing to address the scandal of stymied investigations," he said. "There's been no accountability for victims of rendition."
The report looks at six cases allegedly involving secret detentions and flights of terror suspects. One of them includes German citizen Khaled el-Masri, who went to court earlier this month to try to force his government to seek extradition of 13 suspected CIA agents who allegedly abducted him in Macedonia in 2003. Masri claims he was flown to a U.S .detention center in Afghanistan and tortured before being released in 2004.
"It's clear that European governments have been involved in different ways, from the most severe hosting of detention centers or black sites, the allegations against Poland and Romania, to allowing aircraft to land in their airports on rendition flights," said Gorevan.
Some European governments, like Romania, have denied any involvement. Earlier this year, the British government acknowledged that two U.S. flights of terror suspects landed on British soil to refuel - reversing London's previous claims there was no evidence of any such flights.
For its part, the U.S. government has denied running secret jails for terror suspects.
The new Amnesty report sets out a series of recommendations for European governments, including launching independent investigations on the accusations, more oversight of their intelligence agencies, refusal to assist in future transfers of terror suspects and offering reparations for victims of such treatment.