EU says CIA torture report 'positive step'

EU says CIA torture report 'positive step'

BRUSSELS, Dec 10, 2014 (AFP) - The European Union on Wednesday said a US Senate report exposing brutal yet ineffective CIA torture of Al-Qaeda suspects was a "positive step" in recognising the programme's failings.

"The report raises important questions about the violation of human rights by the US authorities," European Commission spokeswoman Catherine Ray said, noting that US President Barack Obama had ended the programme in 2009 when he took office.

"This report is a positive step in confronting publicly and critically the Central Intelligence Agency's detention and interrogation programme." Ray added that the EU "condemns all forms of torture and ill-treatment, under any circumstances including in counter-terrorism." But she said she could not address earlier allegations that several EU member states were implicated in the CIA's global anti-terror network, including in the secret renditions of suspects to the US security forces for interrogation.

Asked about the role allegedly played by countries such as Poland and Romania, among others, Ray said the US report made no mention of third countries and so she could not comment.

EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini issued a separate statement earlier Wednesday to mark UN Human Rights Day, calling for the elimination of torture worldwide.

Without specifically mentioning the US report, Mogherini noted that while the UN Convention against Torture was adopted 30 years ago, "torture is still widely practised around the world." "This demands our urgent attention," she said.

The report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee said the CIA had misled the White House and Congress about the effectiveness of the programme which included harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

It also detailed the use of techniques including "Russian Roulette" to intimidate and humiliate detainees.

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