January 24, 2006

US ‘outsourced’ torture to other countries: probe

By Jon Boyle

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - A European human rights
investigator said on Tuesday there was evidence the United
States had "outsourced" torture to other countries and it was
likely that European governments knew about it.

But Swiss senator Dick Marty, who heads an investigation by
the Council of Europe human rights watchdog, said he had not
uncovered any irrefutable evidence to confirm allegations that
the CIA operated secret detention centers in Europe.

His remarks, in a preliminary report, kept pressure on the
CIA and European governments over allegations that the U.S.
intelligence agency flew prisoners through airports in Europe
to jails in third countries where they may have been tortured.

"There is a great deal of coherent, convergent evidence
pointing to the existence of a system of 'relocation' or
'outsourcing of torture'," Marty said in his initial report
into the allegations for the 46-nation Council, based in the
eastern French city of Strasbourg.

He said it had been proved that "individuals have been
abducted, deprived of their liberty and transported to
different destinations in Europe, to be handed over to
countries in which they have suffered degrading treatment and


Marty estimated that more than 100 people had been involved
in "renditions" -- delivering prisoners to jails in third
countries, where they may have been mistreated or tortured.

"It is highly unlikely that European governments, or at
least their intelligence services, were unaware," he added.

But Marty said there was no firm evidence of detention
centers in Europe similar to the one operated by the United
States at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The U.S. government has neither denied nor confirmed the
reports of secret detention centers, first made in the
Washington Post newspaper in November.

The allegations have named Romania, Poland, Ukraine,
Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria as hosts to secret detention
centers. No country has acknowledged playing any active role in
the network.

Earlier this month, Marty said European states had
deliberately turned a blind eye to the "dirty work" that had
gone on and were complicit in illegal CIA activities during the
war on terrorism.

The allegations followed widespread anger in Europe about
the U.S. treatment of prisoners in Iraq and detainees at
Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of people judged by the U.S.
military to be illegal combatants are held without charge.