Daily archives: March 24, 2006

Venice Commission lays down the law on secret detentions and extraordinary rendition in Europe

Dick Marty welcomes ‘important input’ of Venice Commission on member states’ legal obligations

“The Venice Commission has issued an excellent legal opinion that provides an important input for my inquiry on alleged secret detentions in Council of Europe member states,” said Dick Marty, Rapporteur and Chair of the Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee, which requested the opinion in December 2005. Mr Marty said the 38-page text was “a thorough analysis of member states’ international law and human rights obligations, highlighting standards developed by the European Human Rights and Anti-Torture Conventions. Secret detentions, abductions and irregular transport of detainees from or through Europe to countries where persons are at risk of torture are flagrant violations of these human rights standards”. Mr Marty also indicated that he intends to present his report in June 2006.

Venice Commission opinion

Mr Marty’s second information memorandum

Secret detentions: Council of Europe action so far

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Arar tells EU investigators of ordeal

By Jan Sliva in Globeandmail.com

Brussels ‘ Maher Arar told an investigative committee of the European Parliament on Thursday that he was kidnapped in New York and deported by U.S. authorities via Rome and Jordan to Syria, where he was tortured for 10 months.

Mr. Arar, an Ottawa telecommunications engineer who holds dual Syrian and Canadian citizenship, was travelling on a Canadian passport when he was grabbed at a New York airport in September, 2002, during a stopover on his way home to Canada from vacation in Tunisia. He said he was sent to Syria for interrogation on suspicion of being a member of al-Qaeda, an allegation he denied.

‘I am a victim of extraordinary rendition,’ Mr. Arar told the EU committee. ‘I am not a terrorist, I don’t know anyone from al-Qaeda. I have never been to Afghanistan.’


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A Lifeboat for the Media

By Andrew Stroehlein in Transitions Online

The fallout from last year’s massacre in the Uzbek city of Andijan continues throughout the country and throughout the region. Since 13 May 2005 ‘ when state security forces fired on mostly unarmed civilian demonstrators, killing hundreds, perhaps even 1,000 ‘ the regime’s paranoia about independent public activity and its desperate drive to control information have accelerated with no apparent bounds.

Along with nongovernmental organizations and human-rights activists, the media has been a primary target. The regime has openly denounced journalists, both foreign and domestic, who reported on the massacre and the subsequent crackdown on witnesses and their families. Several international news organizations have come under harsh criticism, from the BBC, CNN, and the Associated Press to the Moscow-based service Ferghana.ru.

Uzbek First Deputy General Prosecutor Anvar Nabiev called journalists from these media outlets “hyenas and jackals searching for carrion,” and accused them of having known about the uprising plot beforehand and launching an “information war against Uzbekistan ‘ simultaneously with [the] terrorist aggression.”


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