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As ten-year torture inquiry ends, Council of Europe states give final responses on CIA ‘secret prisons’

Pedro Agramunt, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has welcomed a third and final round of responses from the governments of Council of Europe member States to questions on their possible involvement in illegal CIA detentions in Europe or “rendition flights” through European airspace in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Seven states – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the UK – provided additional information to the inquiry, prior to its closure earlier this month by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, information which is made public today. The inquiry was begun in 2005 by Mr Jagland’s predecessor, using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights, which explicitly prohibits torture.

“Today Europe is facing the renewed threat of terror,” said Mr Agramunt. “It must resolutely face that threat with every legal weapon it has, but this dark chapter in our continent’s history shows that some red lines should never be crossed. My sincere hope is that torture will never again take place on European soil with the complicity of state authorities.”

He continued: “I am proud of the role that the Council of Europe has played in helping to expose how some European nations colluded in torture. Ten years ago, our Assembly presented the first credible evidence of this in two powerful reports by Swiss Senator Dick Marty. Since then, following detailed work by many other Council bodies, the European Court of Human Rights has found serious violations by three member states – Poland, ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ and Italy – and further cases are pending against Lithuania and Romania.”