A top Council of Europe official on Thursday urged European governments and the European Commission to cooperate with the human rights watchdog's probe into allegations that the CIA set up secret prisons in eastern Europe to interrogate al-Qaida suspects. The Council's parliamentary assembly has appointed Swiss senator Dick Marty to investigate the allegations, published in the Washington Post Nov. 2. The paper did not name the countries involved, but Human Rights Watch said it had evidence indicating the CIA had transported suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan to Poland and Romania. The conclusion was based on an analysis of flight logs of CIA aircraft from 2001 to 2004 obtained by the group, said Mark Garlasco, a senior military analyst with the organization.
The allegations have triggered a flurry of denials from governments in the former Soviet bloc, including Poland and Romania. Such prisons, European officials say, would violate the continent's human rights principles.
"I would request all governments, along with the European Commission, cooperate fully with Mr. Marty. This issue goes to the very heart of the Council of Europe's human rights mandate," Rene van der Linden, president of the parliamentary assembly, said in a speech to the Council of Europe's executive body.
The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, an advisory body, consists of national parliamentarians, who meet in Strasbourg four times a year and in committees in various European cities, reports the AP. I.L.