More secret prisons?

The Associated Press reports that detainees suspected of involvement in terrorism are now being moved to Ethiopia, a country notorious for human rights abuses.

Published April 5, 2007 1:29PM (EDT)

In late 2005, the Washington Post's Dana Priest started an uproar by reporting on a network of secret CIA prisons, also known as "black sites," used in the war on terror for purposes unknown. At the time, Priest reported that the prisons had been in eight countries, including Cuba, Thailand, Afghanistan and "several democracies in Eastern Europe." Those "black sites" have been the subject of much controversy since Priest's report, culminating, nearly a year later, in the transfer of 14 "high-value" detainees from the secret prisons to the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay for trial.

Now, it appears that the network of prisons has expanded once more, this time to Africa, and specifically to Ethiopia, which, the Associated Press reports, "is notorious for torture and abuse."

The AP goes on to report that detainees from 19 countries have been transferred to Ethiopia; those detainees reportedly include at least one U.S. citizen.

This time, it appears that policy may have shifted, as U.S. government officials admit that they have interrogated prisoners in Ethiopia, but deny that those prisoners were ever in U.S. custody, apparently making this prison something of a cross between the black site program and the controversial "extraordinary rendition" program in which prisoners are sent to countries known for torture to be interrogated by authorities there.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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