Accessibility links

Breaking News


A plane suspected of being used by the CIA in its secret rendition program (file photo)
Amnesty International is calling on European governments to provide justice for the victims of the CIA's rendition and secret detention programs after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The call comes as the London-based organization published a report titled "Open Secret: Mounting Evidence Of Europe's Complicity In Rendition And Secret Detention," ahead of an EU-U.S. summit in Portugal on November 20.

Amnesty researcher Julia Hall told reporters today that even though the report targets European governments, the organization hopes its impact will be felt in the United States, as well.

"As more information trickles out, it will be harder and harder for the United States government to continue to stonewall when it comes to accountability," Hall says. "So the processes that are happening in Europe, we do have hopes that they will have some kind of an impact across the Atlantic in the United States."

The 53-page document compiles the latest evidence of European countries' complicity in the CIA's programs of kidnapping, secret flights, illegal detention, and torture in the context of the fight against terrorism.

It also outlines degrees of progress in uncovering to what extent local officials were involved in the program in eight countries: Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Britain.

The report concludes that the response has so far been poor among EU countries, while also noting that Europe is still "fertile ground" for accountability, especially compared to the United States -- which is described as an "accountability-free zone."
Eynulla Fatullayev was sentenced in 2007.
Two international human rights bodies have denounced the Azerbaijani Supreme Court's failure to comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling that jailed journalist Eynulla Fatullayev should be released, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both called on the Azerbaijani authorities to drop all charges against Fatullayev and free him immediately.

The Azerbaijani Supreme Court on November 11 annulled some charges against Fatullayev, including instigation of terrorism and interethnic enmity. But he remains in jail serving a subsequent sentence for illegal possession of drugs.

Fatullayev's lawyers say the annulment of the charges on which Fatullayev was originally sentenced automatically invalidates the drugs-related charge.

"The government has a clear obligation to release Fatullayev immediately and end this terrible miscarriage of justice," said Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Instead, the authorities are fabricating new ways to keep him imprisoned and openly flaunting their international commitments."

"The authorities are maneuvering to make it look like they have complied with the European Court's judgment, but no one is fooled," Gogia said. "It's clear that they are continuing to silence a journalist who has already served more than two years on a wrongful conviction."

"By sentencing Eynulla Fatullayev to a further prison term three months after the European Court ruling was made, Azerbaijan has clearly sought to side-step the Court's judgment," said John Dalhuisen of Amnesty International. "The authorities' blatant maneuvering shows how desperate they are to keep a prominent critic of the government behind bars. Eynulla Fatullayev must be released immediately."

Fatullayev was sentenced in 2007 to 8 1/2 years in jail on multiple charges which he says were fabricated in retaliation for his published articles criticizing the Azerbaijani authorities.

In April, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled that Fatullayev should be released and paid 25,000 euros ($34,212) compensation as Azerbaijan had violated his rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial. Three months later, Fatullayev was given a 2 1/2 year sentence for drugs

Fatullayev's lawyer Elchin Sadiqov told RFE/RL on November 13 that they will re-appeal the Supreme Court decision to the ECHR, and also ask the Baku Appeals Court to release Fatullayev on bail. That court is currently reviewing the sentence for possession of drugs handed down by a lower court in July.

Qanimat Zahid, editor of the opposition newspaper "Azadliq," told RFE/RL the government's purpose is to keep one journalist in jail to teach a lesson to journalists who remain at liberty. "The authorities are concerned that with no journalist in jail, freedom of expression would enter a new phase in this country. They will resort to any irregularities to keep a journalist in prison."

Zahid too has served a prison term on fabricated charges of hooliganism in retaliation for his criticism of the authorities.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More