Explaining torture

US SECRETARY of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted that the CIA has been using secret flights to move terror suspects to clandestine detention centres in Europe and elsewhere. Ms Rice, on a crucial visit to Europe, has however insisted that suspects are not tortured at these secret prisons.

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Published: Wed 7 Dec 2005, 9:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:35 PM

The US official’s ‘reassurance’ comes after the perturbed EU governments demanded an explanation from the US on the issue. EU countries found themselves in an awkward position after reports appeared in Western media giving details of secret CIA prisons in several European countries that allow the US authorities to detain and ‘interrogate’ terror suspects —away from the long arm of the US law.

More to the point, the ‘suspects’ were flown around the world often without the knowledge of host countries. Some of these flights are said to have originated from and landed in Britain and Germany, too.

Although Ms Rice has ‘explained’ the CIA prisons before she was even questioned by her hosts, she still has a lot of explaining to do. Even if the assurance that the suspects are not ‘tortured’ is accepted at its face value, it’s hard to accept the argument that governments can sidestep the law in their war on terror.

The world may be facing an increased terror threat in post 9/11 times, but it cannot be an excuse to suspend civil liberties and rule of law. Due legal process must be maintained under all circumstances and at all costs. Such actions violate the great ideals and values that inspired the founding fathers of America and do no justice to the US image as the land of the free.

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