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Watchdog has proof of secret Pole prisons

An European investigator accuses USA of kidnapping and torturing suspected terrorists in secret prisons in countries like Syria and Poland, where legal rights are absent.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2007 14:50 IST

A European investigator says he has proof that Poland and other close US allies hosted secret CIA prisons on their soil, and he accused Washington of waging a war against terrorism without rules.

Dick Marty, the Swiss senator who has led a Council of Europe probe into the secret CIA jails, told the Le Figaro daily that terrorism suspects were kidnapped, tortured and held in "rogue states like Syria" where legal rights were absent.

Marty's interview came just hours before the Council of Europe was to publish a second report into secret detentions in Europe. He was due to hold a news briefing in Paris at 1200 GMT.

"On the basis of information collected, we have proof of the existence of extrajudicial prisons in countries that worked closely with the United States, such as Poland," Marty told Friday's Le Figaro daily.

We have details of the program set up by the CIA. The plan, which has now been officially suspended in Europe, aimed to export the anti-terrorism fight beyond the borders of the United States in order to avoid the legal constraints imposed by American law," he said.

US President George W. Bush confirmed last September that the CIA had run secret detention centers abroad where terrorism suspects had been interrogated, but named no country.

Poland and Romania have previously denied vigorously the existence of any secret prisons operated on their territory.
Spain's Socialist government also acknowledged in September that it may have been a stopover for secret CIA flights but said there was no evidence that international law was breached on its soil.

In a preliminary report last year Marty said 20 mostly European countries colluded in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA jails and flight transfers of terrorist suspects stretching from Asia to Guantanamo Bay.

The subcontracting set up in our countries shows a lack of respect towards the European partners. It is an insulting attitude," Marty told Friday's Le Figaro. "The United States wanted to impose a war without rules on terrorism.
"Suspected terrorists were kidnapped then tortured and detained illegally in rogue states like Syria where there is no civilian law or law governing the rules of war".

First Published: Jun 08, 2007 14:36 IST