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Council of Europe: Romania to get Washington guarantees that CIA prisons' detainee won't be sentenced to death

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The Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers has held its quarterly meeting to oversee the execution of judgments and decisions from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) from 4 to 6 December, the latter's decision in the file regarding Romania's involvement in the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)'s secret detention centers program, namely the Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri case, having also been discussed, a release by the Council of Europe reads.

The ECHR rejected in October Romania and Lithuania's appeals against the court's May ruling that the two countries had been involved in CIA's secret detention centers program.

The ECHR decided in favour of two prisoners in Guantanamo, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (against Romania) and Abu Zubaydah (against Lithuania) who affirmed that they were secretly detained in these countries 2004 through 2006 and that they were subject to various forms of moral and physical violence. The same with Lithuania in the Zubaydah case, the European court also condemned Romania to pay to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri a USD 100,000 compensation.

The ECHR also required Romania to get guarantees from the US authorities that Al-Nashiri will not be sentenced to death. This request was reiterated on Thursday by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers that is asking the Bucharest officials to use all possible means to get guarantees in this extreme emergency situation from the United States of America that al-Nashiri will not be sentenced to death and will not be exposed to a blatant denial on behalf of the American judiciary.

Moreover, the same committee calls on Romania to consider in such an approach with the US authorities a joint action with Poland, a country already condemned by the ECHR for similar deeds in 2015.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe also "reminds the necessity to quickly advance in the criminal investigation regarding the circumstances the applicant was brought to Romania, the treatment he was subjected to over there and then transferred, which particularly entails the investigation of possible acts of torture."

In context, the same committee refers to the amendment of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code of Romania, and bringing to mind the opinion of the Venice Commission estimates that this reform "will significantly affect the efficiency of the Romanian criminal justice system in combating the various forms of serious crimes, the violent crimes included."

Therefore, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe demands Romania to reconsider the recent amendments brought to the two codes, having in mind the requirements in the "Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on eradicating impunity for serious human rights violations."

Eventually, "the Romanian authorities are invited to quickly inform the Committee on the steps undertaken in view of obtaining the necessary diplomatic guarantees from the US authorities and answer the Committee's fears regarding the efficiency of the criminal investigations," the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers says, mentioning that this case will be addressed again at its March 2019 meeting.

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