Rights Groups Allege 'Ghost Detainees' Held by U.S. At least 39 terrorism suspects are being secretly held by U.S. authorities, according to a coalition of human rights groups that includes Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.


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

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From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Rebecca Roberts.

A coalition of human rights groups has drawn up a list of terror suspects it believes are being secretly imprisoned by the U.S. The names of the so-called Ghost Detainees are published in a report released today. The report also describes how relative the suspects, including children as young as 7 has been held at secret detention.

NPR's Rob Gifford has the story.

ROB GIFFORD: The six human rights groups include Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - and the list contains 39 names from many different nations - Pakistanis, Saudis, Libyans, Egyptians, Moroccans and many others. And they're believed to be arrested in various countries around the world and to now be detained by the United States.

The report says details of the individuals were gleaned from former detainees who were held along with them and from government and military officials who did not want to be identified. Anne Fitzgerald is one of the authors of the report.

Ms. ANNE FITZGERALD (Senior Adviser, Amnesty International): For many of them -for most of them, we have at least know their full names and we have normally know when they've been arrested, and then we have different details about where they've been held or who has seen them so we could kind of pinpoint them in secret detention U.S. custody at various stages of their detention. What we don't know for any of them is what's happened to them and where they are now.

GIFFORD: The report calls on the U.S. government to disclose the identities, faith 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 said the prisons were empty. Anne Fitzgerald said she doubts that is still the case even if it was so then.

Ms. FITZGERALD: But at the time, he said that the prisons were empty but he very pointedly left open the possibilities that they would be used again. And they have since been used again as was proven just a few weeks ago and another high-value detainee was transferred to Guantanamo. What may have happened is that some of these people may have been transferred to custody in other countries under the direction of the U.S. or they may have simply been transferred to other countries, we don't know.

GIFFORD: Detainees on the list include two men named in the 9/11 Commission report as al-Qaida operatives. Another is a man who was named one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists and who U.S. officials confirmed was seized in 2005 in Pakistan.

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

Mr. TOM CASEY (State Department Spokesman): 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

GIFFORD: A CIA spokesman also issued a statement today saying there's a lot of myth outside government when it comes to the CIA and the fight against terror. The plain truth, he said, is that the CIA acted in strict accord with American law, and that the United States does not conduct or condone torture.

Rob Gifford, NPR News.

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