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Allies warn US over CIA's secret jails

Al Jazeera | November 24 2005

The Netherlands has warned Washington that if it continued to "hide" over reports of secret prisons in eastern Europe, Dutch contributions to US-led military missions could be affected, the ANP news agency has reported.

"The US should stop hiding. It will all come out sooner or later," Foreign Minister Ben Bot told the Dutch parliament, according to ANP.

Bot added that the Americans "are on the borderline" in their fight against terrorism. The minister would not say at what point the Netherlands might end their cooperation with the US.

Afghan deployment

"That remains a careful consideration of the importance of fighting terrorism weighed against the respect for human rights," he said.

He stressed that the Netherlands were still working with the US in several operations, in Afghanistan for example.

"We stress the fair treatment of prisoners and adherence to the Geneva Conventions," the minister added.

The Dutch government is set to decide next week on a possible new mission to the Afghan province of Uruzgan involving 1100 soldiers.

Romanian centres

The Netherlands has contributed more than 1000 soldiers to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) deployed following the US-led war to oust the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Meanwhile, in Romania, the leader of the far-right Romania Mare opposition party said that "torture centres have definitely existed in Romania, but that all trace of them have since been removed".

"As a Christian I cannot lie and I promised Mr van der Linden I would give him all the documents I have, which are based on information provided by Romanian secret service agents," Corneliu Vadim Tudor told AFP in a statement.

His comments came a day after the Council of Europe called on Romania to conduct an investigation into the allegations.

Polish reaction

Elsewhere, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said rumors of secret prisons in his country were being checked on Thursday.

"Even though they are just rumours they should be checked and they are being checked," he said following a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Press reports have said the US intelligence agency also operated secret detention facilities in eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Thailand and elsewhere to circumvent US laws protecting detainees, particulary restrictions on the use of torture.

Planes, allegedly operated by the CIA, have been spotted at airports in Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden as well as Morocco.

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