Wed, Jan 25, 2006 - Page 1 News List

US probably `outsourced' torture: European probe

AP , STRASBOURG, FRANCE

The head of a European investigation into alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe said yesterday that evidence pointed to the existence of a system of "outsourcing" of torture by the US, and said it was highly likely that European governments knew of it.

But Swiss senator Dick Marty said that there was no formal proof so far of the existence of clandestine detention centers in Romania or Poland as alleged by the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"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 a report presented to the Council of Europe, the human rights watchdog on whose behalf he is investigating.

"Acts of torture or severe violation of detainees' dignity through the administration of inhuman or degrading treatment are carried outside national territory and beyond the authority of national intelligence services."

The report said more than 100 terror suspects may have been transferred to countries where they faced torture or ill treatment in recent years.

"The entire continent is involved," Marty told the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, a body comprising several hundred national parliamentarians. "It is highly unlikely that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were unaware."

In the report, Marty analyzed the cases of an Egyptian cleric allegedly kidnapped from Milan in 2003 by CIA agents and a German captured in Macedonia and taken to Afghanistan in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

Citing a US lawyer, Marty also said six Bosnians were abducted by US agents on Bosnian soil.

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