U.N. Blasts Secret Detention Centers

Dozens of countries, including the United States, continue to abduct and detain terrorism suspects in secret detention centers despite clear prohibitions against such practices under international law, according to a new report from United Nations expert investigators.

Algeria, China, Russia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Poland and Pakistan are also among the countries charged with using or colluding in the use of these detention practices.

“In spite of these unequivocal norms, the practice of secret detention in the context of countering terrorism is widespread and has been reinvigorated by the so-called global war on terror. . . . If resorted to in a widespread or systematic manner, secret detention might reach the threshold of a crime against humanity,” the report says, according to a U.N. press release.

The report — by four U.N. experts on counterterrorism and torture, arbitrary detention, and enforced or involuntary disappearances — is based on a year-long study of flight records, detailed questionnaires submitted to national governments, and interviews with 30 former detainees.

The authors recommend steps to ensure judicial remedy, compensation for the victims and their families, and prosecution for those responsible.

Their final 222-page report will be presented to the Security Council in March.