NEW YORK, Dec 1: A leading human rights monitor accused the United States on Wednesday of holding and possibly torturing at least 26 ‘ghost detainees’ in secret overseas locations. The prisoners, suspected of involvement in such terrorist acts as the September 11, 2001, attacks, the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia, are being held indefinitely and incommunicado, Human Rights Watch alleged.

They have been denied basic legal rights and access to counsel, the New York-based rights monitor said, publishing the names of 26 people it said were being detained outside the United States.

According to Human Rights Watch, US government officials, speaking anonymously to journalists, have suggested that some of the detainees have been tortured or otherwise seriously mistreated in custody.

“President (George W.) Bush speaks about bringing terrorists to justice, yet not one of these suspects has actually been brought to justice,” said John Sifton, the watchdog’s terrorism and counterterrorism researcher.

“The Bush administration has severely compromised the chances of prosecuting terrorist suspects by holding them illegally, and reportedly subjecting some of them to torture and other mistreatment,” Sifton said.—AFP

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