Human Righs Watch calls for an accounting.
Several dozen terrorism suspects believed to have been held at secret CIA prisons are still missing without trace, and the United States should reveal what has happened to them, a leading rights group said on Tuesday.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged President George W. Bush in an open letter to disclose the identity, fate and whereabouts of all prisoners held at secret CIA facilities since 2001.
“As you may know, the CIA’s detention program has inflicted great harm on the reputation, moral standing and integrity of the United States,” HRW wrote to Bush.
“By revealing information about the fate and whereabouts of people formerly held in CIA custody, you could begin to repair the damage this abusive program has caused.”
Secret abduction and detention of suspects has been one of the most controversial and fiercely criticized aspects of Bush’s war on terrorism, with rights groups arguing such methods are illegal and frequently lead to abuse and torture.
HRW said it was possible some of the missing people had been moved to foreign prisons but remained for practical purposes under CIA control.
Or they might have been transferred out of CIA custody to countries where “the torture of terrorism suspects is common,” it said, citing Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
“If they are being held in proxy detention in a third country, the U.S. government should either transfer them to the United States for prosecution in U.S. courts, or order their release,” HRW said.
“To leave these men in hidden limbo violates fundamental human rights norms.”