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Accused states denounce Europe report on CIA prisons, renditions

[JURIST] Wednesday's Council of Europe (COE) [official website] report [PDF text; JURIST report] accusing 14 European countries of taking an active or passive role in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA prisons [COE materials] and rendition flights [JURIST news archive] has drawn sharp rebukes from the US, the UK, and Poland, all of which were targets of criticism. The United States Wednesday called the report by Swiss legislator Dick Marty a "rehash" of previous allegations. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a press briefing [transcript]: "I think that in the report they talk about the fact that they have a number of these suspicions, a number of these allegations, but don't have any solid facts to underpin it," and added that the tone of the report reflected negatively on general intelligence activities.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair meanwhile dismissed the report as adding nothing new to already-existing information. UK human rights group Liberty [advocacy website] has called for an independent investigation [press release] into the allegations leveled at the UK, stating that Liberty had warned the government that allowing rendition flights to stop in the UK would violate domestic and international law.

Poland, which along with Romania was accused of allowing the US to maintain secret detention centers near airports servicing the alleged rendition flights, denied the allegations again [JURIST report] and called the report libel. Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said [Polskie Radio report; audio] "[t]his is a slanderous accusation finding no reflection in reality. We shall not respond to charges which are not based on facts."

Of the 14 European countries Marty accused of participating in rendition flights, or negligently allowing the flights to proceed, Spain and Ireland have categorically denied the allegations, while Germany has not responded. Greece, Cyprus and Portugal have stated that all flights stopping in their countries are in accordance with international law. Macedonia responded by saying there was "no hard evidence" against the country. Though Marty admitted that he based his report largely on circumstantial evidence gathered primarily through flight logs, satellite images and accounts of people who said they had been abducted, thereby providing no direct proof, the report was designed to compel each European country to actively investigate the allegations leveled against it through "serious, transparent investigations." BBC News has more. Deutsche Welle has additional coverage.

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