Complaint by FIDH and LDH against arbitrary detention and torture

Press release
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FIDH and LDH are currently filing a complaint with the Public Prosecutor of the Administrative Court of the City of Bobigny (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Bobigny) against arbitrary detentions, illegal confinement, torture, and violations of the Third Geneva Convention on the fate of prisoners of war.

It would appear from information gathered over the last few years that the US Intelligence Agency, the CIA, has, within the context of the war against terror, used secret planes to take prisoners illegally to secret detention centres and/or has used these same planes as centres where “intensive interrogation” take place. On at least two occasions, planes have landed at French airports (Brest-Guipavas and Paris-Le Bourget), under suspicious circumstances, and without any clear indication of their destination. The greatest fears relate to the transport of CIA prisoners via these flights and, as a result, FIDH and LDH demand that all necessary investigations into these activities be carried out as soon as possible by the court.

FIDH and LDH believe - if the facts can be established - that these procedures for transporting prisoners can be likened to a form of arbitrary detention and illegal confinement and may constitute, blatant violations of the Geneva Conventions. In addition, it has now been established that the techniques called “intensive interrogation” by CIA operatives involve the use of torture and mistreatment and are therefore officially prohibited by the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Punishment or Treatment of 10 December 1984. There is now every reason to fear that such practices have been carried out on prisoners while they were being transported on two suspect flights.

FIDH and LDH are currently filing their complaint with the Public Prosecutor of the Administrative Court of Bobigny, as Paris-Le Bourget Airport is situated within its jurisdiction. They intend to emphasise the initial responsibility of the French authorities, to inquire into the activities and to pursue their perpetrators.

Finally, FIDH and LDH call upon the authorities in France and abroad, as well as on all other governments concerned, to co-operate, as part of the on-going investigation, within the European institutions. Both our organisations fearthat, following the Condoleezza Rice’s European Tour, any indignation on the part of these governments will give way to passive acceptance or even tacit consent. The Special Inquiry Committee of the European Parliament must indeed be able to rely on complete co-operation from member States of the European Union. Likewise, the member States of the Council of Europe must co-operate in the investigations that are being carried out by the Secretary General, the Human Rights Commissioner and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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