German ministers 'knew about CIA torture cells'
The German government is alleged to have received first-hand evidence that the CIA began torturing terrorist suspects at secret prisons in Europe shortly after the September 11 attacks, despite claiming it only knew about such sites through the media.
Stern magazine quoted a leaked German intelligence report yesterday which said that only weeks after September 11 2001, two agents and a translator visited a US military prison at the American "Eagle Base" in the Bosnian town of Tuzla, where they saw a torture victim.
The German intelligence report said US interrogators at the base had beaten a 70-year-old terrorist suspect with rifle butts and that "his injuries meant that he had to be given 20 stitches to the head wound he sustained". The report said the American interrogator responsible "appeared to be proud" of his actions.
Stern said the German intelligence agents had been
given access to documents confiscated by the Americans which were "smeared
with blood". One German agent was said to have compared the actions
of the US interrogators to Serbian war criminals during the break up
of Yugoslavia. "The Serbs ended up before the international court
in The Hague for this kind of thing," he was quoted as saying.
Germany was heavily criticised last year for allowing CIA prisoner rendition flights to stop over in the country. The German parliament is currently considering opening an investigation into allegations by a former terrorist suspect held prisoner by the US in Afghanistan that German special forces assisted in his interrogation.
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