UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: New Amnesty International Report Corroborates 'Black Sites'

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10 Nov 2005
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Fight Against Terrorism and Human Rights
Provides Details on Torture and Secret Facility Conditions from Three "Disappeared" Yemeni Nationals

(Washington, DC) -Amnesty International today released Secret Detention in CIA "Black Sites," a new report detailing the detention of three Yemeni nationals who had "disappeared" into the labyrinth of
U.S.-run secret detention facilities in 2003.
The men, Muhammad al-Assad, Salah Ali and Muhammad Bashmilah, were kept in complete isolation in a series of secret detention centers operated by the United States, with no judicial review, notice to their family or contact with the outside world.

This document, released on the heels of media reports exposing the United States' secret detention facilities known as black sites, provides detailed information about the three Yemeni nationals who were held in secret U.S.-run facilities before resurfacing in Yemeni custody, including allegations that they were tortured. That these men were returned to Yemeni authorities indicates they were not high-value detainees, demonstrating that almost any suspect can be subject to this unlawful practice. The cases further suggest that the network of clandestine interrogation centers are not reserved solely for high-value detainees, but may be larger, more comprehensive and better organized than previously suspected.

"Each man described facilities and procedures that could not have been created and maintained solely for three low-level suspects," said Amnesty International USA Executive Director Dr. William F.Schulz. "We fear that what we have heard from these three men is just one small part of the much broader picture of U.S. secret detentions around the world.

"It is absolutely outrageous that the Bush Administration, the self-described defender of democratic values around the world, holds and tortures people in secret facilities or outsources torture, without charge, trial or access to the outside world. This is a blatant violation of U.S obligations under international law. We cannot ignore the evidence. These detention centers, coupled with torture, indefinite detention and the 'disappearing' of people in custody -- provide additional impetus for Congress to create an independent commission to investigate all aspects of U.S. detention and interrogation policies," added Schulz.

In the report, Amnesty International calls on the U.S. government to clarify its position on the legal status of the three Yemeni nationals. If the United States does not maintain any control over them, it should state this clearly, emphasizing that there are no U.S. conditions attached to their transfer. The organization also urges the U.S. government to disclose the locations of the detention centers where the three men were held; disclose the identities of all others held at these places, and invite the ICRC and other independent human rights organizations like Amnesty International to have full and regular access to those detained. All incommunicado and secret detention should be stopped immediately.

Amnesty International is also calling on the Yemeni government to
promptly charge the three men with a recognizable criminal offense
and bring them to trial in full accordance with international standards, or release them without condition.

November 7, 2005

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