US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships

The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees, reported Guardian.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.

Reprieve will raise particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.

At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were "disappeared" to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.

Reprieve believes prisoners may have also been held for interrogation on the USS Ashland and other ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time.

The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate's story of detention on an amphibious assault ship. "One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo ... he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo."

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said: "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.

"By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them."

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, called for the US and UK governments to come clean over the holding of detainees.

"Little by little, the truth is coming out on extraordinary rendition. The rest will come, in time. Better for governments to be candid now, rather than later. Greater transparency will provide increased confidence that President Bush's departure from justice and the rule of law in the aftermath of September 11 is being reversed, and can help to win back the confidence of moderate Muslim communities, whose support is crucial in tackling dangerous extremism."

The Liberal Democrat's foreign affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, said: "If the Bush administration is using British territories to aid and abet illegal state abduction, it would amount to a huge breach of trust with the British government. Ministers must make absolutely clear that they would not support such illegal activity, either directly or indirectly."

A US navy spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, told the Guardian: "There are no detention facilities on US navy ships." However, he added that it was a matter of public record that some individuals had been put on ships "for a few days" during what he called the initial days of detention. He declined to comment on reports that US naval vessels stationed in or near Diego Garcia had been used as "prison ships".

The Foreign Office referred to David Miliband's statement last February admitting to MPs that, despite previous assurances to the contrary, US rendition flights had twice landed on Diego Garcia. He said he had asked his officials to compile a list of all flights on which rendition had been alleged.

CIA "black sites" are also believed to have operated in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.

In addition, numerous prisoners have been "extraordinarily rendered" to US allies and are alleged to have been tortured in secret prisons in countries such as Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.

Iran sees Russia as key defense partner
Iran sees Russia as key defense partner
Iran ready to provide details of January plane crash to Ukraine
Iran ready to provide details of January plane crash to Ukraine
Armenian missile attack on Ganja - sign of cowardice, says Iranian MP
Armenian missile attack on Ganja - sign of cowardice, says Iranian MP
Loading Bars
Latest
UAE sends fifth medical aid plane to Kazakhstan in fight against COVID-19
Jens Stoltenberg: Georgia, Ukraine are valuable partners of NATO
Iran sees Russia as key defense partner
France's new daily COVID-19 cases above 25,000 again
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani Army liberated Minjivan settlement and 13 villages of Zangilan district
Armenia once again betrays Russia
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani Army liberates 3 villages of Fuzuli district, 5 villages of Jabrayil district
Armenian side forced to recognize Azerbaijani army’s superiority - Defense Ministry
Armenia's defensive system, military equipment and terrorists didn't help - Azerbaijan's MoD
Liberation of Zangilan to increase production and export of Azerbaijan's mineral resources
Morocco's import of Turkey's jewelry, precious stones drops
Turkey's export of jewelry, precious stones to Iran decreases - Trade Ministry
Armenia has no interest in peaceful settlement of Karabakh conflict - top official
France reduces imports of jewelry, precious stones from Turkey
Georgia's import of Turkey's jewelry, precious stones down for 9M2020
Car prices in Iran drop
Iraq likely to unblock Iran's assets
Iran continues to increase non-oil exports
Supplies of jewelry from Turkey to Iraqi market decline in 9M2020
Dissemination of inaccurate info by some websites not to affect Qatar-Azerbaijan relations - embassy
Kazakhstan’s ERG Service to establish foundry products export to Uzbekistan
Turkish jewelry supplies to Azerbaijani market plunge
No diplomatic way to resolve Karabakh conflict, admits Armenian PM
Georgia implementing new project to provide remote villages with internet
Actual revenues to Azerbaijan's budget from State Customs Service top forecast
SOCAR details plans for expanding gas distribution network in Georgia
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale October 24
Compound feed producing plant to be commissioned in Almaty
Most Azerbaijani monuments in occupied territories Armenianized or destroyed
Georgia reveals TOP 5 banks with highest interest on loans
Uzbekistan reveals growth rate of investments spent in fixed assets for 9M2020
China's import of jewelry, precious stones from Turkey slumps
EU leaders to hold COVID-19 video-conference October 29
Iran's Persian Gulf Star Oil Company boosts its exports
Turkey increases export of jewelry to US - Ministry of Trade
Transfers by Azerbaijan's State Oil Fund to state budget for 9M2020 revealed
Union of Importers of Oil Products of Georgia talks adoption of new standard for diesel fuel
Subsidies for agriculture dev't allocated in Kazakhstan's Almaty region
Price of mobile internet down in Georgia
Data on sales in foreign currency at Turkmenistan’s exchange in September
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall in Iran
Fitch Ratings notes Georgia’s ability to comfortably meet its funding needs
Volume of paid salaries decreases in Georgia
Germany's 9M2020 import of Turkish jewelry shrinks
President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Japan’s Nikkei newspaper (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, Russia enhancing bilateral co-op on innovative dev't, digital economy
Uzbekistan resumes flights to UAE's Sharjah
Eni sets timeframe for wind farm construction in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan itself implementing UN Security Council resolutions
Azerbaijan reveals state budget revenues, expenditures for 9M2020
Students of Baku Higher Oil School donate their scholarship allowances to Armed Forces Assistance Fund
Amount of investments made to launch of enterprises in Iran increases
Uzbekistan suspends gold export
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of fire-fighting equipment
Georgia's import of tubes, pipes, hollow profiles from Turkey up
Three more UAVs of Armenia destroyed
Ambassador of Mexico met with Executive Director of SOFAZ
Russian entrepreneurs, well-known arm dealers involved in arming Armenia - President Aliyev
Uzbekistan considers state budget for 2021 taking into account COVID-19
Exports of knitwear from Georgia to Turkey down
Armenia creating suicide squads consisting of prisoners sentenced to death
UAE increases exports to Kazakhstan amid COVID-19
Chevron expresses will for further co-op with Kazakhstan in energy sector
Azerbaijani agency joins int'l public-private partnership association
Azerbaijani, Russian FMs meet
Exports of furniture, wood from Turkey to Turkmenistan increased
Nasdaq profit surges 76% on non-trading business strength
Georgian air company Air Georgia implements new project with United Arab Emirates
Weighted average rental rates reduce on Georgian main high streets
Azerbaijan's victory in Karabakh conflict beneficial to all parties, Russian expert says
Azerbaijan to build power supply stations in deoccupied districts
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported by Georgia to Turkey
EAEU reveals export of Turkmen vehicles
Georgia sees increase in export of flours, meals, pellets to Turkey
Operating performance of financial institutions improves in Georgia
Georgia reduces import of medicaments from Turkey
Wood, furniture exports from Turkey to Ukraine decline
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 21
We drove Armenian army out of our lands so fast that they fling up their heels - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan confirms 176 more COVID-19 recoveries
Military equipment abandoned by Armenian army on battlefield (PHOTO / VIDEO)
President Ilham Aliyev on possibility of observers introduction
At the last moment Armenian refused to return Kalbajar and Lachin, says president of Azerbaijan
Iran restarts extraction from Sulabdar oil field
Azerbaijan reaffirms position on Lachin corridor which is part of fundamental principles - President Aliyev
President Aliyev says no country helping Azerbaijan in fight with Armenia
If Armenian side says it is ready to withdraw troops from occupied territories, issue of so-called observers can be considered - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan wants peace, also territories that rightfully belong to it - President Aliyev
Full responsibility for what is happening now lies squarely with Pashinyan, says Azerbaijani president
We are offered to make concession to Armenia, unilateral concession, while nothing being offered in return - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan ready to suspend military operations, resolve issue at negotiating table - President Aliyev
Armenia’s terrorist authorities must be punished – Azerbaijani MP (VIDEO)
Georgia, UK aim to strengthen business and commercial ties
Volume of market services in Uzbekistan’s transport sector remains predominant despite decrease
Azerbaijan to issue support for children who lost parents after Armenia's Ganja attack (PHOTO)
Turkey raised wood, furniture exports to Russia - Trade Ministry
Heads of Christian religious communities of Azerbaijan protest against draft resolution submitted to US Congress
TANAP named Project of the Year by US-based PMI
Eni Turkmenistan Limited opens tender related to data transmission services
Tajikistan's import of Turkish furniture down
All news