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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

January 27, 2010

UN STUDY: SECRET DETENTIONS MAY BE CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

Middle East Online - UN human rights experts warned on Wednesday that "widespread and systematic" secret detention of terror suspects could pave the way for charges of crimes against humanity.

In their first in-depth global study on the practice, the experts said the practice had spread to almost all regions of the world and was continuing.

The study, which is due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March, listed 66 states that have been involved in secret detentions, mainly over the past nine years.

In spite of international norms protecting individual rights, "secret detention continues to be used in the name of countering terrorism around the world," the report added.

"If resorted to in a widespread and systematic manner, secret detention might reach the threshold of a crime against humanity," the authors cautioned in their executive summary.

. . . The study was compiled by two independent UN experts on counter-terrorism and torture, as well as UN panels overseeing arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.

While commitments by President Barack Obama to dismantle and investigate secret detentions were welcomed, the experts also called for clarification of grey areas including short term CIA holding facilities and those operated by the military Joint Special Operation Command.

Human rights campaigners believe suspects were detained in secret interrogation centres or prisons in recent years, and sometimes tortured or ill treated there, while other countries cracked down on political opponents or restive ethnic groups.

Extraordinary rendition involved abducting suspects without legal proceedings, and flying them to foreign countries or secret CIA prisons.


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