The release of a U.S. Senate report on CIA interrogation techniques has resulted in widespread criticism about the actions of CIA agents and contractors in the years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.
A top United Nations human rights envoy, Ben Emmerson, says revelations from publication of the report on December 9 should lead to the prosecution of senior officials from the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush who had planned and authorized crimes.
Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, said CIA and U.S. government officials responsible for torture also should be prosecuted -- and that the United States was "legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice."
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the U.S. Senate report shows that some CIA agents and contractors "violated all accepted norms of human rights."
Speaking in Kabul on December 10, Ghani also demanded to know how many Afghans were tortured under the CIA's interrogation program.
The European Union on December 10 welcomed the release of the report as a "positive step" in recognizing the program's failings.
European Commission spokeswoman Catherine Ray -- noting that U.S. President Barack Obama ended the program in 2009 when he took office -- said the Senate report "raises important questions about the violation of human rights by U.S. authorities."
Ray said the EU "condemns all forms of torture and ill-treatment, under any circumstances, including in counterterrorism."
But Ray said she could not address earlier allegations that several EU members states -- including Poland, Romania, and others -- had been part of the CIA's global network and took part in the secret renditions of suspects for interrogation by U.S. agents.
The report concluded that CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques" were "far worse" than the CIA had led officials to believe.
It also said techniques such as waterboarding were "not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation."
But the released excerpts of the report made no mention of third countries involved in secret renditions.
Nevertheless, Polish ex-President Aleksander Kwasniewski admitted on December 10 that Warsaw had agreed to a U.S. request while he was in office to provide a facility in Poland for U.S. agents to interrogate suspected terrorists.
Kwasniewski said he did not know what was happening inside the facility when it was operating in 2002 and 2003.
The American Civil Liberties Union called on the U.S. attorney-general to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate officials who "created, approved, carried out, and covered up the torture program."
"The offenders should be prosecuted," it said. "In our system, no one should be above the law."
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth said that if the revelations from the report do not lead to the prosecution of officials, "torture will remain a 'policy option' for future presidents."
In Tehran, administrators of a Twitter account associated with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted a message on December 10 that said the U.S. report shows the U.S. government was a "symbol of tyranny."
A later message on that Twitter account said, "Look how humanity is being treated by dominant powers with flashy propaganda and in the name of human rights, democracy and freedom."
Obama called the revelations in the report "troubling."
He said he had banned harsh interrogation techniques when he took office in 2009 because they were "contrary to our values."
A White House statement issued on December 10 said the harsh questioning tactics described in the Senate report had undermined the moral authority of the United States.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa