WASHINGTON — As many as 54 countries, including Zimbabwe, participated in the overseas detention and rendition programmes overseen by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the years following the September 11 attacks, according to a new report from a human rights watchdog group.
The report from the Open Society Justice Initiative is an extensive look at a programme that has remained largely unreported in its size and scale despite official acknowledgement from former President George W Bush and other US officials.
According to the report, 136 people have been subjected to the process of rendition — the transfer of a terrorism suspect by the United States to a third country for interrogation — or have been held in one of the so-called “black site” prisons in third countries run by the CIA.
“The consequence of having so many partners engaged in these operations is that the United States is exposed to continuing embarrassment, liability and censure in multiple jurisdictions outside the United States,” Amrit Singh, the report’s author told CNN.
The findings were derived from public sources, including documents from US and foreign governments, inquiries from the European Parliament and Council of Europe, findings from human rights investigations and news reports.
The CIA secretly held detainees at detention facilities in Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Thailand in addition to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the report.
The report said that countries as varied as Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and Sri Lanka also participated through their interrogation, torture or role in capturing terror suspects.
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Co-operation could also include permitting the use of airspace for overflight rights of planes carrying terror suspects, the report said.