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Council of Europe urges greater transparency in CIA prisons probe

[JURIST] The Council of Europe (COE) [official website] Wednesday called on member states to act with greater transparency [Resolution 1562 text; Recommendation 1801 text; press release] and exercise greater oversight of military and foreign intelligence services, giving support to a report [text; JURIST report] delivered earlier this month that accused Poland and Romania of assisting the US Central Intelligence Agency in operating secret prisons [JURIST news archive] for terror suspects. The report, by COE investigator and Swiss Parliamentarian Dick Marty [personal website], alleged that detainees were mistreated in the secret prisons, and described in detail stories of prisoners being kept naked or being placed in isolation conditions for months on end. Speaking to the COE Wednesday, Marty asked the international body to question why European governments have refused to respond to allegations [closing speech video; press conference video] that they have allowed the US to run secret prisons on their soil.

Despite COE support, Marty's report has been subject to much criticism. EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini [official website] has complained that the report quoted only anonymous sources, and could not be verified. Spokespersons for other implicated countries vehemently denied the allegations, with one Polish lawmaker quoted as calling the report a "piece of fiction." US President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of the secret CIA prison program [JURIST report] last year, but did not disclose any details. AP has more.

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