Germany, Turkey, Bosnia helped renditions, says US lawyer.

Germany, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina have helped the US to transport terror suspects to its Guantanamo Bay camp for detainees, a US lawyer told European lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Germany and Bosnia have been complicit, and Turkey has been a key transport point," US lawyer Stephen Oleskey told a European Parliament committee investigating alleged CIA activities in Europe.

Oleskey, representing six Bosnian citizens being held in Guantanamo Bay since January 2002, claimed the German military had hidden information that his clients had no links with terrorism.

After questioning the families of the six Bosnian men, who are of Algerian origin, the German military did not make public its conclusions that the men were victims of US secret service activities rather than terrorist suspects, Oleskey said.

The military officers stationed in Bosnia in 2003 even hid their identities, pretending to be German journalists, he charged.

"The (German) military knew that those men are no terror suspects," Oleskey said, adding: "And that the officers disguised as journalists when questioning the detainee's families is a cruel irony of the nightmare in Guantanamo."

Oleskey said his clients were originally seized in October 2001 following a request from the US. He said Washington had threatened to withdraw help from Bosnia, if the government refused cooperation.

Bosnian authorities took the men to a US military base in Sarajevo, then to Tuzla in Bosnia, Oleskey said. The men were brought to Turkey on planes which came from Germany. In Turkey, they were interrogated before they being flown to Cuba, he told parliamentarians.

"It was a wholly illegal transfer and nothing more than the naked use of military force and a self-assertion of the US government," Oleskey said, adding that the Bosnian government had not made any move to clear the detainees' release.

During the last four years in prison on Cuba, the men never had any hearing or trial, but were repeatedly abused and tortured, the lawyer said.

All his clients had been living in Bosnia for years, working as lawyers, public officials and human rights activists to help rebuild the war-stricken country, Oleskey said.

"They're husbands and fathers, they're not single men living in a Hamburg suburb, planning to fly planes in New York's great towers," he added, referring to the terror attacks in the US in September 2001.

Britain's former envoy to Uzbekistan Craig Murray last week told Euro MPs that western secret services, including Germany's, were obtaining intelligence under torture from foreign detainees in Uzbekistan.

The European parliamentary body investigating the CIA charges was set up in January.

Italian Socialist MEP Claudio Fava, rapporteur for the 46-member committee, will present its first findings in an interim report expected to be released Wednesday.

The committee is working in tandem with an inquiry by the Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights watchdog. However, neither group has the power to sanction European governments.

[Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Brussels, 25apr06]

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