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UN torture investigator seeks access to alleged secret CIA prisons in Europe

[JURIST] Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC], the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture [official website], has said that he is certain that the United States has secret detention facilities in Europe [JURIST news archive] and has demanded access to the facilities. In an interview with the Associated Press Thursday, Nowak cited the refusal [JURIST report] of the United States to provide details of interrogations used in terrorism trials in Germany as evidence, but did not say how this proved the existence of secret US facilities. Allegations of secret CIA-run detention facilities have prompted separate investigations by the European Parliament [official website] and the Council of Europe [official website]. US officials have neither confirmed nor denied the accusations and refuse to comment on matters of intelligence. A recent report [PDF text; COE materials] from COE Secretary General Terry Davis found no evidence [JURIST report] of secret US prisons in Europe. Investigators conducting a separate inquiry for the COE's parliamentary assembly, however, have asserted [JURIST report] that secret US prisons exist in Europe, but thus far have been unable to provide concrete proof.

The US has also come under heavy scrutiny [JURIST report] from Human Rights Watch [HRW backgrounder] and Amnesty International [AI report] which have joined in accusing the US of running secret prison centers in Europe and of transporting suspects to the prisons on rendition flights [JURIST news archive]. The United States has been at the center of investigations into secret prisons and rendition of prisoners for the past several months, but continues to defend the legality of its rendition practices [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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