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Amnesty International Accuses US of "Secret Flights to Torture and 'Disappearance'"

Secret detention and "disappearances" of dissidents and political opponents are something that only happen in evil, undemocratic countries in South-or central America, right? Wrong. It happens on behalf of the United States all over the world, including Europe, says amnesty international USA. In a report dated April 5, 2006, the US is accused of "rendition" and "disappearance". Rendition, as defined by the human rights organization, is "the transfer of individuals from one country to another, by means that bypass all judicial and administrative due process." The number of cases appear to be in the hundreds, and "every one of the victims of rendition interviewed by Amnesty International has described incidents of torture and other ill-treatment."
In addition, the USA has acknowledged the capture of about 30 "high value" detainees whose whereabouts remain unknown. While before September 11, 2001, the rendition program was mainly intended to render terrorist suspects to the United States for trial, since the "War on Terror" it seems to be aiming more and more to deny detainees access to American courts. New Directives implemented under the Bush administration remain classified, but are said to give the CIA and the other 15 members of the American "intelligence community" the power to capture and hold terrorist suspects.
Secret detention is the corollary of a secret rendition programme. (…) Rendition provides the means to transport them to the CIA-run system of covert prisons that has reportedly operated at various times in at least eight countries.
Amnesty describes some cases of rendition, secret detention and "disappearance" in detail, including German national Muhammad Zammar's, about which Amnesty says:
The secret arrest and subsequent "disappearance" of Muhammad Zammar has all the hallmarks of a case in which an individual has been rendered for the purposes of interrogation under torture. Zammar's family in Germany has received one letter from him dated 8 June 2005. His current whereabouts are unknown. According to the Amnesty-report, intelligence information supplied by Germany is thought to have been instrumental in his arrest in Morocco and rendition to Syria.
Deutsche Welle opines that the CIA controversy is becoming a sharper thorn in transatlantic relations:
European leaders were initially slow to react to allegations of secret flights carrying suspected terrorists landing on their soil after reports of them first leaked in November. Experts say that is because European governments were more informed than they wanted to admit.  But since EU Commission officials first downplayed the issue late last year, the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, has continued to investigate. At the same time, countries such as Germany and Italy are probing the issue -- the Bundestag will hold more hearings this week to find out what German officials knew. Most officials say it is unlikely that European governments were kept in the dark. Meanwhile, an EU parliamentary committee issued a report last month saying that the CIA carried out as many as 1,000 secret flights in the past five years, transporting suspected terrorists to third countries.


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