The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Group Demands Information on ‘Disappearedâ€TM Detainees

by Shreema Mehta

Mar. 1, 2007 – A human rights group is calling for the Bush administration to reveal the whereabouts of all suspects once detained by the CIA in secret prisons scattered across the globe.

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Last year, the Bush administration announced that it had moved fourteen CIA prisoners to the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. President Bush then declared that the CIA no longer had "terrorists" in custody.

But Human Rights Watch (HRW) says several people abducted into the CIA’s network of secret prisons are still missing. Through interviews with former detainees and their family members, as well as information gleaned from news reports, Human Rights Watch recently compiled a list of sixteen people thought to be once detained by the CIA whose whereabouts are currently unknown. The group has identified another 22 people who it says were "possibly" held in CIA prisons and who are also missing.

"The Bush administration needs to provide a full accounting of everyone who was ‘disappeared’ into CIA prisons, including their names, locations, and when they left US custody," said Joanne Mariner, terrorism and counterterrorism director at HRW in a press statement.

Though the CIA prison program is still shrouded in secrecy, an interview with former detainee Marwan Jabour, revealed details on how it was run.

Jabour was first detained by Pakistani officials in 2004, and then sent to prisons operated, at least in part, by Americans. He told HRW that American interrogators would often "chain him up in extremely uncomfortable positions" and force him to stay awake for days. He also said his legs had been shackled together for one and a half years. Jabour did not know the exact location of the prison where he stayed the longest, but he suspected it was Afghanistan.

In a speech last year on the prison program, President Bush called the interrogation techniques used at the prisons "tough" but "lawful and necessary."

"These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution and our treaty obligations," he said.

HRW noted that the actual number of CIA detainees is unknown. It speculated that the missing prisoners could have been sent to other foreign prisons, including to countries where they face a "serious risk of torture."

"To leave these men in hidden limbo violates fundamental human rights norms," wrote the authors of the HRW report. "It is also extraordinarily cruel to their families."

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Shreema Mehta is a staff journalist.

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