EU terrorism chief denies existence of CIA prisons amid strong criticism Lisl Brunner at 10:52 AM ET
[JURIST] The European Council [official website] counter-terrorism coordinator has reported that the existence of secret CIA prisons in Europe cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Addressing a European Parliament [official website] committee on Thursday, Gijs de Vries [BBC profile] also denied that allegations of coordination between the US and EU member states regarding extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] were supported by proof. De Vries' comments to the committee investigating the CIA allegations [official website] were met with criticism from members of parliament, who cited 50 hours of testimony that it heard from alleged victims of rendition and human rights organizations.
Italian MEP Claudio Fava called de Vries' testimony "completely useless," while Dutch MEP Kathalijne Buitenweg noted "stunning" circumstantial evidence regarding the existence of the prisons. The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan also testified that he had witnessed rendition programs carried out in that country but could not confirm that they were linked with Europe. In January, a Council of Europe report [PDF text, JURIST report] alleged that the prisons did exist with the acquiescence of European governments, but it conceded that there was no concrete proof to support the allegations. EUObserver.com has local coverage. The New York Times has more.
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