Friday, September 15, 2006

EU urges U.S. to follow law on detainees

The European Union on Friday called on the United States to respect international law in its handling of terror suspects after President Bush acknowledged his country had operated secret prisons abroad.

"We reiterate that in combatting terrorism, human rights and human standards have to be maintained," said Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, speaking on behalf of the 25 EU foreign ministers. "We acknowledge the intention of the U.S. administration to treat all detainees in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention."

Tuomioja's statement was the first formal joint reaction by the 25-nation bloc to Bush's disclosure last week that the CIA had operated controversial detention centers, some of which were believed by human rights groups to have been located in eastern Europe.

The EU appeal for Washington not to ignore international treaties on prisoners of war came as Bush is pushing Congress to back new rules for interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects.

Bush's measure would allow classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terror trials and the use of coerced testimony.



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