On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch released a report documenting dozens of cases in which the U.S. had used "rendition" to send terror suspects to Egypt to be tortured.  --  HRW's deputy Middle East director noted that sending individuals to a country where they are likely to be tortured is banned under international law, reported the New York Times.[1]  --  That this is indeed U.S. policy is well documented (search the UFPPC website for "rendition" for 21 examples), but HRW's report suggests how routine the practice is, which a year ago was being called "extraordinary rendition" but now, simply "rendition."  --  BBC News[2] gave the title of the report:  Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt, which is available online.  --  AP gave some examples of cases described by HRW.[3]  --  None of these articles mentions the fact that there are presently several legal cases being pursued by West European governments against the U.S. for illegally seizing individuals on their territory for the purposes of "rendition."  --  In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of this nation's "spiritual death":  "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."  --  "Rendition" is an example of what he was talking about....



By David Johnston

New York Times
May 12, 2005
Page A04


WASHINGTON -- The United States and other countries have forcibly sent dozens of terror suspects to Egypt, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The rights group and the State Department have both said Egypt regularly uses extreme interrogation methods on detainees.

The group said it had documented 63 cases since 1994 in which suspected Islamic militants were sent to Egypt for detention and interrogation. The figures do not include people seized after the attacks of September 2001 who were sent mainly by Middle East countries and American intelligence authorities.

The report said the total number sent to Egypt since the Sept. 11 attacks could be as high as 200 people. American officials have not disputed that people have been sent to countries where detainees are subjected to extreme interrogation tactics but have denied that anyone had been sent to another country for the purpose of torture. Among other countries to which the United States has sent detainees are Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Syria.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said sending someone to a country where he was likely to be tortured was banned under international law. "Egypt's terrible record of torturing prisoners means that no country should forcibly send a suspect there," he said.

The United States began sending terror suspects to Egypt in the mid-1990's when the practice, known formally as rendition, began to play a larger role in counterterrorism, according to officials from the Clinton administration.

But since September 2001, the transfers have accelerated in part because Egypt has been willing to accept the detainees as part of its effort to root out Islamic militants inside Egypt, a campaign that has extended to countries where extremists have taken refuge. Almost all those sent to Egypt are Egyptian citizens or were born there, the report said.

Although torture is forbidden under Egyptian law, the country has long been criticized by the State Department for a poor human rights record, most recently in a Feb. 28 annual report by the agency that concluded, "Torture and abuse of detainees by police, security forces and prison guards remained common and persistent."

Human rights groups have been even harsher. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, a nongovernmental group, reported in May 2004 that it had uncovered 292 cases of torture between 1993 and 2003, of which 120 led to death.

President Bush said in March that the government demanded assurances that suspects would not be tortured before they were sent to other countries. Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence, testified on March 17 that more safeguards were now in effect than existed before Sept. 11, 2001.

Other Clinton and Bush administration officials have said concerns about Cairo's methods were balanced by the reality that for some detainees, there were no options.


World Edition


BBC News
May 12, 2005


Human Rights Watch is calling on the U.S. and European and Arab countries not to transfer suspected Islamic militants to Egypt because they might face torture.

The New York-based organization says a number of suspects sent by the U.S. for questioning have been tortured.

It says the practice has increased since the suicide attacks in New York and Washington in September 2001.

The U.S. says it only sends suspects to countries where the governments have said they will not be tortured.

"Egypt's terrible record of torturing prisoners means that no country should forcibly send a suspect there," said Joe Stork, the HRW deputy Middle East director in a statement.

The report is called Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt. In it, about 60 people of Egyptian origin are identified as having been sent home from various countries.

The probable number was much higher, the report alleges, and scores of them are thought to have been tortured or faced serious mistreatment.

"Sending suspects to a country where they are likely to be tortured is strictly prohibited under international law," Mr Stork said.

There has been no immediate comment from the U.S. or Egyptian governments about the report.


By Mariam Fam

Associated Press
May 10, 2005

Source: Los Angeles Times

CAIRO -- The activist group Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged foreign governments to stop turning over suspected extremists to Egypt unless the country shows it does not torture prisoners.

In a 53-page report, the New York-based group charged that a number of Islamic militants and other suspects had been tortured after being handed over to Egypt by several countries, including the United States.

"Do not under any circumstances extradite, render, or otherwise transfer to Egypt persons suspected or accused of security offenses unless and until the government of Egypt has demonstrated that it has ended practices of torture and ill-treatment," the report urged.

Top Egyptian officials couldn't be reached immediately for questions about the report. There was no immediate U.S. comment.

In April, President Bush was asked about sending terror suspects abroad to a third country for interrogations.

"We operate within the law, and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people," Bush said. "The United States government has an obligation to protect the American people . . . We expect the countries where we send somebody to not to torture as well."

Human Rights Watch said it knew of at least 63 people being sent to -- and in a few cases from -- Egypt since 1995, based on press reports and interviews with exiled activists, Egyptian lawyers, human rights groups and detainees' families. The actual number was likely much higher, it said.

The group said that most transfers happen with no due process protections and that detainees are often held for prolonged periods without contact with outsiders.

The practice has increased since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States, with American authorities sending some suspects to Egypt and elsewhere and pressing other countries to do the same.

The report cited the case of Mamdouh Habib, an Egypt-born Australian citizen, who said he was detained in Pakistan in October 2001 and was interrogated by American agents.

Habib said he was then sent to Egypt, where he alleges he was tortured in prison for six months before being transferred to the prison for terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the report said. It said he was released after three years.

Human Rights Watch said that in some cases, Egypt has refused to acknowledge detainees are in custody.

"In the handful of cases in which information eventually does surface, it turns out that the suspects have been tortured or otherwise severely mistreated," the group charged.

It cited the case of six alleged Egyptian militants who the report said were sent from Yemen to Egypt against their will but whose detention has not been officially acknowledged by the Egyptian government.

In an apparent swap, the report said, a few days before the handover of the six, a former Yemeni brigadier general living in exile in Egypt, Ahmad Salim Ubaid, was snatched from a Cairo street and taken to Yemen. He was later released, the report said.

Another case is that of Mohammed al-Zawahri, an alleged former Islamic militant who is the brother of the Egyptian extremist who became al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.

The report claims Mohammed al-Zawahri was kidnapped while in the United Arab Emirates on business in early 1999 and returned to Egypt. After a newspaper report, Egypt finally acknowledged it had him in custody in March 2004, the group said.