13:20:29 EST Dec 13, 2005
PARIS (AP) - A Swiss investigator probing claims of secret CIA prisons in Europe said his committee has evidence that supports allegations that prisoners were transferred between countries and temporarily held "without any judicial involvement."
"Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards," legislator Dick Marty said in a written report summarizing his investigations so far.
Marty told a news conference he believed the United States was no longer holding prisoners clandestinely in Europe and he believed they were moved to North Africa in early November, when reports about secret U.S. prisons first emerged in The Washington Post. He did not provide any other details.
He presented his findings in Paris to a committee of the 46-country Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog.
Marty added that "information gathered to date reinforced the credibility of the allegations concerning the transfer and temporary detention of individuals, without any judicial involvement, in European countries."
He is investigating the CIA's reported transfers of prisoners through European airports to secret detention centres, actions that would breach the continent's human rights principles.
"Based on what I have been able to learn, currently there are no secret detainees held by the United States in Europe," Marty told a news conference in Paris, adding that he believed prisoners had been taken to Morocco.
Poland and Romania have been identified by the New York-based Human Rights Watch as sites of possible CIA secret prisons, but both countries have repeatedly denied any involvement.
Marty, in his report, added it is "still too early to assert that there had been any involvement or complicity of member states in illegal actions."
He was critical of the United States for not formally denying the allegations. He said he "deplores the fact that no information or explanations" were provided by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who faced repeated questions about the CIA prison allegations on her recent visit to Europe.
Rice has said the United States acts within the law and argued that Europeans are safer because of tough U.S. tactics, but she refused to discuss intelligence operations or address questions about clandestine CIA detention centres.
Marty has requested air traffic log books to try to determine flight patterns of several dozen suspect CIA airplanes. He has also requested satellite images of the Sczytno-Szymany airport in northeastern Poland and the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in eastern Romania, after they were identified by Human Rights Watch as possible sites of clandestine CIA detention centres. European officials say such prisons would violate the continent's human rights principles.
After hearing Marty's presentation, Tony Lloyd, a member of the Council of Europe committee, said: "The really difficult thing is the idea is that there is a kind of legal black hole in the middle of Europe."
© The Canadian Press, 2005
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