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AI: EU Must Oppose US Rendition

 

 

EU Must Oppose Further Complicity With U.S. Rendition Program, According to Amnesty International

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ — Amnesty International will continue to press the Council of the European Union (EU) to publicly and unequivocally oppose any further complicity in the U.S.-led rendition program within the EU. Member states must act to ensure accountability for the grave human rights violations that have already occurred including illegal transfers, torture or ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and enforced “disappearance.” The EU must call on the U.S. government to cease the current practices of rendition and illegal detention and bring to justice those who have been involved in these practices.

The need to end participation in the rendition program is underscored by the recently released findings of the European Parliament’s Temporary Committee investigation into renditions and secret detention.

“The EU is playing a game of ‘hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil’ by not only refusing to acknowledge its participation in this deplorable mission but also failing to rebuke the United States for the program’s mere existence,” said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director. “As far as Amnesty International is concerned, silence equals endorsement.”

In the words of the committee’s rapporteur, Claudio Fava, the EU must stress that “the appropriate legal framework for governing the international fight against terrorism is criminal law and international human rights … the protection of fundamental rights must never be compromised.” The draft report supports and elaborates on Amnesty International’s findings of the involvement and complicity of EU member states, candidate and associate countries, in the U.S. rendition program.

The report details evidence of direct complicity in rendition cases by security services and other authorities in Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, Macedonia and Bosnia- Herzegovina. Furthermore, it highlights that security forces of the UK, Germany and Turkey took advantage of the situation by interrogating individuals who had been subjected to rendition.

The Temporary Committee also found evidence of at least 1,245 flights by CIA aircraft that stopped over on European territory. These included 336 stopovers in Germany, 170 in UK, 147 in Ireland, 91 in Portugal, 68 in Spain, 64 in Greece, 57 in Cyprus, 21 in Romania and 11 in Poland. Out of those, several flights had the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as their origin or destination, including flights that stopped over in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Romania and Poland.

In light of the evidence found by Amnesty International, the EU, the media and others, each and every government must investigate the crimes that have occurred in and through European territory. While investigations have been undertaken in Spain, Germany, Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina into the renditions program and the authorities’ alleged role therein, many governments, notably Austria, Poland, Macedonia and Romania, have failed to initiate such thorough, independent and impartial investigations.

“Make no mistake, human rights violations occurred in the renditions program,” said Cox. “The lack of transparency shown by the EU Council and its bodies, including failing to fully cooperate with the Temporary Committee’s investigation, makes one wonder what other horrendous abuses may be happening in the context of the war on terror.”

The draft report supports the proposal of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to draft principles and guidelines to enhance control over the activities of domestic and foreign security services on the territory of member states; better safeguards and controls over air traffic transiting through European states; and ending impunity for the perpetrators of serious human rights violations.

The draft report makes a number of other recommendations including the call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay and for European countries to accept the return of their citizens and residents who are being held illegally by U.S. authorities.

In addition to these recommendations, Amnesty International continues to urge all EU member states, candidates and associate countries to ensure the accountability of intelligence agencies and make sure all countries’ full cooperation with ongoing national and international investigations on rendition and secret detention, including by providing them with access to all relevant people and information.

Amnesty International has issued several reports on renditions, (see below) and the organization will continue to monitor and press for appropriate accountability at all levels.

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Amnesty International reports on renditions: “Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and ‘disappearance'”; “Partners in crime: Europe’s role in US renditions”; “The case of Mohammed El Zari and Ahmed Agiza: violations of fundamental human rights by Sweden confirmed”; “Abu Omar: Italian authorities must cooperate fully with all”; and “Twelve Steps to End Renditions and Secret Detentions in Europe.”

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