A human rights group alleges the U.S. has operated detention facilities for terror suspects aboard Naval vessels, according to a published report in a European newspaper Monday.
A study compiled by Reprieve says the U.S. may have used as many as 17 vessels as 'prison ships' where terror detainees were subjected to interrogation as part of the acknowledged rendition program operated since 2001, The Guardian reported.
Information from the study was reportedly compiled through a number of sources, including statements from the U.S. military, several European government bodies and interviews with terror suspects.
Among the alleged 'prison ships' were the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu and an additional 15 vessels suspected of having operated around U.S. and UK military officials in the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers."
"By its own admission, the U.S. government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001," Smith told The Guardian.
Commander Jeffrey Gordon, a U.S. Navy spokesman, denied the presence of secret prisons on American ships and told the Guardian it was a matter of record that some ships were used to transport suspects ' for a few days' as part of dentention process.
Gordon refused to comment on reports that U.S. navy vessels stationed near Diego Garcia had been used as "prison ships."