For Immediate Release
AIUSA media relations office, 202-509-8194
In New Report, Amnesty International Calls on European Union to Continue Pursuing Justice for CIA Renditions
Human rights organization cites some movement by EU states but far more is needed
WASHINGTON - In its new report published today, Open secret: Mounting evidence of Europe's complicity in rendition and secret detention, Amnesty International reveals the latest details in the growing body of proof that European countries were complicit in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) renditions program.
The new report focuses on key developments and highlights recently released reports and sources that may help advance accountability in eight European countries. A summit between the European Union and the United States will occur next week in Brussels, Belgium.
"While EU states have made some efforts to investigate their role in the CIA extraordinary renditions program, very little has been done in the United States to formally investigate this dark chapter in our history," said Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA policy director for (counter) terrorism and human rights. "Those responsible for ordering and carrying out acts of kidnap and torture cannot be allowed to hide their crimes behind a spurious screen of state secrecy. Real accountability requires real remedies."
The countries highlighted in the report include German, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Below is a listing of the key cases in the nations listed above:
Germany was complicit in the detention of Muhammad Zammar, interrogated by German agents while in secret detention in Syria in November 2002. German officials acknowledged that torture occurred in Syria. He has yet to receive justice despite a German parliamentary enquiry into his and others' claims of abuse.
Italy has convicted U.S. and Italian agents for their involvement Abu Omar's abduction in Milan in February 2003. He was unlawfully sent to Egypt where he was held in secret and allegedly tortured. Cases against senior U.S. and Italian officials were dismissed on grounds of state secrecy and diplomatic immunity. Italian claims of the need to protect ‘state secrets' continue to obstruct justice. Appeal proceedings in Abu Omar's case began in October 2010.
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Lithuania has admitted that two secret prisons existed. A delegation from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture visited them in June 2010, the first publicized visit by an independent monitoring body to a secret CIA prison in Europe. Ongoing criminal investigations must ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
Macedonia allegedly assisted in the unlawful detention and subsequent CIA-led rendition to Afghanistan of German national Khaled el-Masri, who has accused Macedonia at the European Court of Human Rights: probably the first time this court will consider a case involving a Council of Europe country's alleged complicity in the CIA program. Macedonia continues to deny that its agents acted unlawfully.
Poland's Border Guard Office in July 2010 revealed that seven planes operating the CIA's rendition program landed at the Polish airport at Szmany. In September, the prosecutor's office confirmed it was investigating claims by Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, that he was held in secret in Poland. He was granted ‘victim' status in October 2010, the first time a rendition victim's claims have been acknowledged in this context.
Romania is alleged to have hosted a secret CIA prison. It denies responsibility despite fresh evidence of its Involvement in the rendition program.
Sweden is charged with failing to investigate fully the rendition at the hands of the CIA in December 2001 of Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari to Egypt, where the men reported they were tortured. Sweden has failed to provide the men with full and effective redress.
The UK announced in July 2010 that it would establish an enquiry into the involvement of British officials in the alleged mistreatment of individuals detained abroad by foreign intelligence services. The UK government has also acknowledged that the United States used British territory for rendition flights.
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Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people – no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization.