US under fire for flouting human rights

Amnesty International has accused the United States of "circumventing human rights" after five men arrested by Malawi security agents, on suspicion of being members of the al-Qaeda network, were handed over to US authorities.

    The US is under criticism
    for flouting human rights

    The five arrested - two Turks, a Kenyan, a Saudi and a Sudanese - were detained at a secret location by US personnel without being allowed access to their lawyers.

     

    Amnesty said there were indications that the men were flown out of Malawi aboard a chartered flight in the company of US and Malawian officials and said it was not known where the men were currently being held.

      

    "The US authorities must make public what they know about the whereabouts of these five men," Amnesty said in a statement from the Malawi city of Blantyre.

     

    Laws circumvented

      

    If they are in US custody, they should be brought before a court as soon as possible to be able to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, it said.

     

    Once again it seems that the US may have been involved in a transfer which circumvents basic human rights protection and national law, Amnesty said.

     

    "Ironically, this alleged transfer took place on the same day that the State Department released a report about how much the US is doing to promote human rights worldwide," it added.

      

    Amnesty International also demanded that if the men were suspected of crimes, they should be promptly charged, provided legal counsel and brought to trial within a reasonable time.

      

    US embassy officials in Malawi would not comment about the circumstances leading to the arrest of the five.

     

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