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Germany

Germany Accused of Accepting Information Gained Under Torture

A former British ambassador to Uzbekistan turned up the heat on Germany Thursday when he told a European Parliament committee that Germany had received information "most certainly obtained under torture" in Uzbekistan.

Frankfurter Flughafen, Luftaufnahme

The allegations emerged when the European Parliament committee, currently investigating allegations of CIA human rights abuses made last year by human rights groups and the media, questioned former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray.

Murray's 21-year diplomatic career came to an end two years ago, when he accused the United States and Britain of endorsing torture by using confessions obtained through torture from prisoners in Uzbekistan.

Speaking in Brussels Thursday, Murray reiterated that the CIA transported prisoners from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan to obtain confessions in former Soviet jails by using torture.

The US has acknowledged secret renditions but has denied endorsing torture.

Asked about allegations of secret flights operated by the CIA from Europe, Murray said he had no evidence proving flights from EU countries but categorically knew that flights had transported ethnic Uzbeks from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.

New claims

Illustration zum Thema New York Times berichtet über BND-Zusammenarbeit vom 02.03.2006 Computer, Geheimdienste, Medien, Regierung, USA

The BND's role in the fight on terror has been the target of much speculation in recent months

Murray went on to claim that the German secret service worked in close proximity with the Uzbeks and continues to do so, stressing that he had no doubt that Germany used information "most certainly obtained under torture," by the Uzbek secret service, and insisting that he had seen with his own eyes prisoners who had clearly been victims of brutal mistreatment.

As far as he knew, neither Americans not Europeans were actually present during torture sessions, but the information elicited was passed on both to the CIA and Britain's MI6.

Asked by the committee at the European Parliament who, apart from the CIA and MI6, had been working together with Uzbekistan, Murray replied that the only embassy with which the Uzbeks have had full co-operation was the German embassy.

He also said he had the impression that many officials at the German embassy were very concerned by the co-operation, a conclusion he reached after "private conversations," which he was not prepared to discuss with the committee.

Answers

Khaled el Masri

Khaled al-Masri

German parliamentarians have demanded an immediate investigation into Murray's claims, with one member of parliament for the Green party, Hans-Christian Ströbele, also advising that the enquiry should take place in the public eye.

Wolfang Kreissl-Dörfler of the SPD party, says that Murray's claims raised serious questions that demanded answers.

The European Parliament's committee has heard several cases by alleged victims of CIA secret flights. One such victim was the German citizen Khaled Al-Masri, who was flown to Afghanistan and held for several months as a terrorist suspect by the United States.

The European Union's anti-terrorism co-ordinator says that there is no proof yet that the CIA organised secret flights and ran detention centers for terror suspects. But a group of EU lawmakers is set to travel to Washington DC in May to meet with the CIA chief Porter Goss and further investigate the allegations.

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