European investigators looking into allegations of secret CIA-run prisons in Europe said yesterday that an Egyptian government message naming countries where such prisons existed could amount to indirect proof of the claims.
But the investigators from the Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights body, said they were trying to confirm that the Egyptian document was genuine. The document's existence was reported on Sunday by the Swiss weekly SonnstagsBlick.
The newspaper reported that the document said Egypt had confirmed through its own sources that the US intelligence agency had held 23 terror suspects at a military base in Romania.
The message also said there were similar US detention centres in Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria, according to the newspaper.
The message, a fax sent by satellite transmission from Egypt's foreign ministry to its embassy in London, was intercepted on November 15 by Swiss intelligence, the newspaper reported. The Swiss defence ministry said it was investigating the leak of the document.
Two of the European investigators said that, if authenticated, they would consider the faxed message to be indirect proof that the facilities existed and an additional indication that some governments in Europe may not have revealed everything they know.
The two officials said the lead investigator, Dick Marty, had received a copy of the document from the Swiss secret service and was trying to confirm independently that it was genuine.
The Strasbourg-based council began its investigation after allegations surfaced in November that US agents had interrogated key al-Qaida suspects at clandestine prisons in eastern Europe and transported some suspects to other countries via Europe.
Mr Marty is to present his findings to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe later this month.
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