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Rice defends rendition practices prior to European trip

[JURIST] In official remarks [transcript] prior to her departure for Europe Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the US government's efforts to protect its citizens have been "misunderstood." Noting European officials' concerns about the CIA's use of extraordinary rendition [Wikipedia backgrounder], Rice asserted that the US government has used rendition for decades when traditional extradition was not a viable option. The US has always acted in accordance with international law and treaty obligations, Rice stated, because "The United States does not authorize or condone torture of detainees." A UK parliamentary group is calling for investigations [JURIST report] into whether the British government violated international law by assisting alleged CIA rendition flights landing in the UK, and officials in Germany, Spain and Italy [JURIST reports] have conducted investigations. During her European tour, Rice will address officials at the EU headquarters in Brussels and meet with leaders in Germany, Romania and Ukraine. Rice's comments come as Amnesty International [advocacy website] condemned the US refusal to confirm or deny allegations that the CIA has operated covert prisons in Eastern Europe [JURIST report]. Amnesty says the US is mocking international law [Reuters report] and is calling for a transparent probe into the prison allegations, which Rice did not address in her speech. The Washington Post has more.

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