Rights Groups Allege 'Ghost Detainees' Held by U.S.

'Off the Record'

Six British and U.S. human rights groups compiled the report that calls on the U.S. to disclose the identities, fate and whereabouts of all detainees.

A coalition of human rights groups on Thursday released the names of 39 terrorism suspects it believes are being secretly held by the United States.

The names of what the coalition calls "ghost" detainees were published in a 21-page paper, "Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearance in the 'War on Terror,' " that was compiled by six British and U.S. human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Detainees on the list include two men named in the Sept. 11 commission report as al-Qaida operatives. Another is a man who was named one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists and was confirmed by U.S. officials to have been seized in 2005 in Pakistan.

The report says details about the detainees were gleaned from information from former detainees and government and military officials, who asked not to be identified. The report was posted on Amnesty International's Web site Thursday.

"For many of them, for most of them, we at least know their full names and we normally know when they've been arrested, and then we have different details about where they've been held or who has seen them," said Anne Fitzgerald, a senior adviser for Amnesty International. "What we don't know for any of them is what's happened to them and where they are now."

According to the report, those who are being detained are from many different countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan and Spain. The report also says the detainees are believed to have been seized in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan, then transferred to secret U.S. detention facilities.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said: "There's a lot of myth outside government when it comes to the CIA and the fight against terror. The plain truth is that we act in strict accord with American law, and that our counter-terror initiatives — which are subject to careful review and oversight — have been very effective in disrupting plots and saving lives."

The report calls on the U.S. government to disclose the identities, fate and whereabouts of all detainees, and to put a permanent end to the CIA's secret detention and interrogation programs.

President Bush last year acknowledged the existence of secret detention centers, but he said the prisons were empty.

Fitzgerald said she doubts that is still the case.

Asked about the report Thursday, State Department spokesman Tom Casey would go no further than what President Bush said last year.

"In terms of the issues that are raised there, again, I think the president made clear in his remarks in September 2006 what kind of programs we were operating and the terms and conditions of them. And I really just don't have anything to add to that," Casey said.

NPR's Rob Gifford and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: