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Council of Europe Investigator Reports on CIA Probe

24 January 2006

An investigator for the 46-member Council of Europe says he has found no irrefutable proof that CIA-run secret detention centers may have existed in Europe. Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty has asked for more time and cooperation to complete his probe.

Dick Marty spoke at an open session of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, France.

Marty, a former prosecutor who began his investigation in November, said he had yet to find judicial proof that secret CIA detention centers existed, or that local authorities were aware of them. But he asked for more time to continue his probe.

He said if such centers did exist, European nations were aware of them.

The Swiss lawmaker noted many press reports on the subject - including books alleging people had been kidnapped and sent for questioning to countries where there was absolutely no respect for basic human rights.

He said Romania and European Union member Poland should not be the only countries under scrutiny for allegedly harboring secret detention centers.

Marty's remarks coincided with his second interim report on the alleged centers and clandestine transport network for suspected terrorists and their collaborators. These allegations have stirred furor in Europe.

Marty said that in a speech to Europeans last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, categorically denied torture is being used, but did not deny "extraordinary rendition" of terrorism suspects.

There was no immediate U.S. reaction to the report.

Following release of Marty's report, former British minister for Europe, Denis MacShane, said there is nothing new, no proof, no witness statement, no document that justifies the claims made. The British member of parliament, said the report simply recirculates newspaper allegations and sustains the anti-American propaganda.

A statement from the top EU justice official, Commissioner Franco Frattini, called for all EU member states to cooperate fully with the Council of Europe's investigations as promptly, and comprehensively, as possible.

Last week, the European Parliament announced it would pursue its own investigation into the charges. It wants to start hearings later this month. It called for government officials and former heads of state to answer to questions.

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