June 13, 2006

EU-US “partners in crime” on CIA flights: Amnesty

By Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Amnesty International urged European
states on Wednesday to stop being "partners in crime" with the
United States over the alleged kidnapping of terrorism suspects
and their transfer to countries that use torture.

In a report and a letter addressed to EU leaders meeting on
Thursday and Friday in Brussels, the human rights groups backed
accusations that the U.S. Central lntelligence Agency ran
secret transfer flights and that European countries were aware
of it.

"There is irrefutable evidence of European complicity in
the unlawful practice of renditions," Amnesty said in the

"The European Council must therefore put a resolute stop to
the attitude of see no evil, hear no evil that has prevailed so
far," Amnesty said, referring to the EU summit.

The human rights group urged EU leaders to say in their
meeting this week that the so-called rendition flights were
"unacceptable" and to make sure their airspace and airports
were not used for such flights in the future.

It asked EU leaders to raise the issue with President Bush
when they meet him in Vienna on June 21, saying the bloc's
credibility was at stake.

Amnesty's report draws largely the same conclusions as
those issued by EU lawmakers on Monday, and last week by the
Council of Europe, a European human rights watchdog. None
produced hard evidence.

Amnesty reports on six suspected cases of CIA abuses in
which it says seven countries -- Germany, Italy, Sweden,
Britain, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia and Turkey -- have been

All these cases, and eleven others, have already been cited
by Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty.

Amnesty does not produce "smoking gun" evidence either. But
it says the "converging evidence" should be enough.

"The whole evidence question is overrated, it's a bit
cynical," said Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty's EU office,
accusing EU states of asking for much less evidence when they
criticize abuses in other countries.