CAIRO: Egypt is among a host of countries including the US that is still involved in secret detentions of terrorism suspects around the world, according to a UN report.
The report, due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March, stated that these countries had been continuing the practice of secret detentions – which is illegal under the Geneva Conventions even during states of emergency and armed conflict – for the past nine years, Reuters reported.
Alongside Egypt and the US, the report names Russia, China, Algeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, India and Iran as the other countries still involved in secret detentions. Four UN investigators spent a year working on the report.
“On a global scale, secret detention in connection with counter-terrorist policies remains a serious problem, said the report,. “Secret detention as such may constitute torture or ill-treatment for the direct victims as well as their families.
The report surmised that the objective of secret detentions was to cover up torture and human rights abuses carried out against the terror suspects, and “continues to be used in the name of countering terrorism around the world.
The report also indicated that the US was still heavily involved in these practices, which included kidnapping suspects before locking them up in undisclosed locations.
According to the UN report, The secret detention policy took many forms. The CIA established its own secret detention facilities to interrogate so-called High Value Detainees’. It asked partners with poor human rights records to secretly detain and interrogate persons on its behalf.
This process, known as extraordinary rendition, meant that terror suspects were held in countries such as Jordan, Pakistan, Syria and Egypt again.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report published in 2005 tackled specifically the role of Egypt in rendition of terror suspects and how those rendered suspects were tortured and generally mistreated, and in some cases made to disappear, as in the government would not even admit to having them in custody.
“Torture, although it is strictly forbidden under Egyptian law and the international human rights treaties Egypt has signed, has been a widespread and persistent phenomenon in the country, particularly during interrogation of security suspects, said the HRW report.
Journalist and blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy who was involved in the drafting of the HRW report, told Daily News Egypt, “These renditions will continue while there is the political will and support for it by the Americans and what we are seeing from the Obama administration is that there is no difference in its counterterrorism measures from its predecessors.
“Aid to Arab dictatorships still continues, there is escalation in the war on Afghanistan and the same tough rhetoric is coming from Obama regarding terrorism, he added, “[so it will continue] in the current atmosphere where even CIA operatives indicted for torture are given immunity.
The UN report said that “the CIA appears to generally have been involved in the capture and transfer of prisoners, as well as in providing questions for those held in foreign prisons. Equally, little is known about the amount of detainees who have been held at the request of other states such as the United Kingdom and Canada.
El-Hamalawy said, “Regarding any operation between Arab security services, the CIA will at least be notified if it is not directly supervising the operation. So whether the Americans are directly involved or not, the renditions are happening.