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Amnesty International Asks for CIA Renditions to Stop


Amnesty International wants European leaders meeting in Brussels this week to denounce alleged CIA detentions of terrorist suspects on their soil, and to pledge such activities will not happen in the future.

In a new report that adds fuel to a growing controversy, Amnesty International described six suspected cases of CIA abuse that allegedly took place with the involvement of seven European countries. Those countries are Germany, Italy, Sweden, Britain, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia and Turkey.

Amnesty's allegations are not new: Similar charges were aired last week by Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who was tapped by the Council of Europe to investigate reports of illegal CIA detentions and renditions of terrorist suspects to third countries, where they were allegedly tortured. The European Parliament is also investigating the allegations.

Anne Fitzgerald, a senior advisor for Amnesty International in London, says Amnesty's new report offers further evidence implicating European countries.

"Two or three years ago, maybe they could say, we didn't know what was going on," she said. "But the kind of attention this issue has had, particularly from journalists over the last 18 months, has made it impossibly for them to say that anymore with any degree of credibility."

Amnesty wants European leaders meeting in Brussels Thursday and Friday to investigate the allegations and to establish policies and procedures to ensure the alleged abuses don't happen in the future.

Critics point out that evidence of alleged abuses is spotty at best. But Fitzgerald and others underscore the difficulty in getting hard evidence.

"The evidence is not conclusive in all cases, but its a very slow process because by nature these renditions take place in secret. The U.S. uses a number of different means to conceal them from public view," she added.

European governments have staunchly denied being involved in or knowing about the alleged activities. But Italy has launched a judicial inquiry into the reports, and Spain's national court ruled Monday it had the jurisdiction to investigate some of the allegations.