By Emil Danielyan
Armenia has officially assured the Council of Europe that it has not hosted secret U.S.-run detention facilities or helped U.S. intelligence agents transfer Islamist terror suspects through Armenian territory.
“I am proud to state that there are no secret prisons or illegally transferred detainees existing on the territory of the Republic,” Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis in a January 27 letter made public this week.
Davis asked the Strasbourg-based organization’s member states last November to explain how their laws ensure that acts by officials of foreign agencies within their jurisdiction are controlled. The request came as part of a Council of Europe investigation into allegations that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency interrogated al-Qaeda suspects at secret prisons in eastern Europe and transported some on secret flights that passed
Armenia was not among countries implicated in the alleged practice that runs counter to European human rights treaties. In his letter, Oskanian presented a long list of Armenian constitutional and legal provisions regulating arrests and extraditions of criminal suspects as well as cooperation between local and foreign security agencies. “It can be concluded that the Republic of Armenia legislation provides necessary guarantees for protection of rights and freedoms stipulated by the European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms, prevention of illegal deprivation of freedom in Armenia and transfer to another country of any person,” he said.
This and other letters from member governments were posted on the Council of Europe website in conjunction with a special report released by Davis on Wednesday. The report suggested most of Europe has become a “happy hunting ground” for external intelligence services and the CIA in particular. “Hardly any country... has any legal provisions to ensure an effective oversight over the activities of foreign security services,” it said.
Davis complained that Italy, Poland, Macedonia and Bosnia have not provided sufficient information in response to his request, while three other Council of Europe nations, including Georgia, have not replied at all.
(RFE/RL photo: Terry Davis.)