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UN expert urges US to publish report on Bush-era detention, rendition program

The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Ben Emmerson [official profile] called Monday on the US government to publish the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] report detailing investigations into the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] secret detention and interrogation program during the Bush presidency. According to the report [text, PDF] submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, there is evidence of the CIA operating clandestine detention facilities known as "black sites," in a number of countries including Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Thailand. In addition, the report claims that the officials of at least 49 other nations allowed their airspace or airports to be used for extraordinary renditions [JURIST news archive] carried out by the CIA.The Special Rapporteur urged those countries accused of allowing CIA "black sites" "to establish (or where applicable, to re-open) effective independent judicial or quasi-judicial inquiries into credible allegations that secret CIA "black sites" were established on their territories." In January 2009 the Obama administration passed an executive order prohibiting the use of secret detention, torture and other forms of prisoner abuse.

The issue of CIA extraordinary rendition has been a sensitive one, particularly in Europe. In February a Milan appeals court sentenced [JURIST report] Niccolo Pollari, the former Italian spy chief, to 10 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of a terror suspect as part of the CIA extraordinary rendition program. In the same month the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] at least 54 countries participated in the CIA overseas detention and rendition of at least 136 people. In December the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that the government of Macedonia [official website] is responsible for the torture and degrading maltreatment of a man the ECHR found to be an innocent victim of CIA extraordinary rendition in 2003. In September the Italian Court of Cassation [official website, in Italian] upheld the convictions [JURIST report] of 23 former CIA officers for the 2003 kidnapping and rendition of Egyptian terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr. In April Emmerson expressed regret over a US court decision denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [National Security Archive] requests by a member of the UK parliament and the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition [official website], made as part of an investigation into extrajudicial capture [JURIST report] by the US of foreign terrorism suspects for detention and interrogation.

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