Human Rights Watch said it has evidence, based on flight logs, that indicate the CIA transported suspects captured in
Afghanistan to Poland and Romania. But the two countries — and others in the former Soviet bloc — denied the allegations. U.S. officials have refused to confirm or deny the claims.
Such prisons, European officials say, would violate the continent's human rights principles. At work may be a complex web of global politics, in which eastern European countries face choices between the views of the European Union and their interest in close ties with the United States.
The International Committee of the Red Cross expressed strong interest in the claims, first reported Wednesday in the Washington Post, that the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al-Qaida captives at Soviet-era compounds.
Red Cross chief spokeswoman Antonella Notari said the agency asked Washington about the allegations and requested access to the prisons if they exist. The Red Cross, which has exclusive rights to visit terror suspects detained at a U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, long has been concerned about reports U.S. officials were hiding detainees from ICRC delegates.
Europe's top human rights organization, the Council of Europe, said it, too, would investigate.
Notari said the Red Cross, which also monitors conditions at U.S. detention centers in Afghanistan and
Iraq, has been unable to find some people who reportedly were detained. She said the Red Cross was "concerned about the fate of an unknown number of persons detained as part of what is called the 'global war on terror' and held in undisclosed places of detention."
In implicating Poland and Romania, Human Rights Watch examined flight logs of CIA aircraft from 2001 to 2004, said Mark Garlasco, a senior military analyst with the New York-based organization. He said the group matched the flight patterns with testimony from some of the hundreds of detainees in the war on terrorism who have been released by the United States.
"The indications are that prisoners in Afghanistan are being (taken) to facilities in Europe and other countries in the world," Garlasco, a former civilian intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Associated Press.