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17 Jul, 2007 15:07

Swiss investigator defends CIA prisons report

EU investigators have announced there is evidence 14 European countries helped to set up CIA secret prisons. Furthermore, they have accused Italy, Romania and Poland of hosting the jails.

Two reports on secret CIA prisons get a mixed reception at the European Parliament.

“These are very serious issues. Some governments were aware of the happenings but they chose to shut national parliaments out even here at the European level,” said Jean-Marie Cavada, Chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

In his Council of Europe report, Dick Marty directly names the Vice President of the Parliament, Marek Siwiec, as a CIA accomplice. He claims Mr Siwiec , being in charge of Polish military intelligence, knew about the prisons but kept quiet. Senator Marty also alleges that the then Romanian and Polish presidents knew their countries were hosting secret detention centres between 2003 and 2005.

The second report by the EU Parliament’s Claudio Fava claims Italy also hosted a clandestine CIA prison.

Meanwhile, some MEPs criticised Senator Marty’s use of anonymous sources. But Dick Marty defended his sources, saying keeping them secret was the only way to investigate.

“We hit a wall of silence with lots of governments. I accused them of failing to reveal all they knew to the special parliamentary committee we set up. We all know this silence has violated EU human rights law. We know about the abduction of hundreds of people and of the use of detention centres such as in Guantanamo, Irak, Afghanistan and also in Europe,” stated Dick Marty in response.

Both investigations examined the CIA extraordinary renditions programme – under which suspects who had not yet undergone trial but were thought to be linked to terrorist networks were transported around the world and interrogated. The investigations allege there was a secret pact between NATO allies that allowed the CIA to operate clandestine camps in Europe and carry out human rights abuses.