Group Says Jordan Tortured Terrorism Suspects for U.S.

Security agents in Jordan are torturing terrorism suspects on behalf of the United States in hopes of forcing confessions, the human rights watchdog Amnesty International contended in a new report Monday.

The report said its investigators had identified about 10 suspected cases of men subjected to rendition from U.S. custody to interrogation centers in Jordan, a close U.S. ally in the Middle East.

"Jordan appears to be a central hub in a global complex of secret detention centers operated by the U.S. in coordination with foreign intelligence agencies," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa unit and an author of the report.

The United States has consistently said it does not permit suspects to be shipped to countries that practice torture.

The report said more than 100 defendants in terrorism-related trials in Jordan have complained over the past decade of being subjected to torture by Jordan's General Intelligence Department.

The Amnesty report called on Jordan to end its practice of holding suspects in secrecy, reduce the powers of the General Intelligence Department, promptly investigate and punish any cases of torture and stop participating in U.S. renditions.

In June, a Council of Europe investigator concluded that most European states had facilitated the rendition of terrorism suspects from U.S. custody to interrogation centers in Jordan and at least three other countries: Egypt, Poland and Romania.

Britain and the United States dismissed the report, saying it lacked firm new evidence.

U.S. officials have acknowledged flying up to 150 of the most serious suspected terrorists from one country to another, but said they receive "diplomatic assurances" from authorities that they will not use torture on the detainees they receive.

In an 87-page report filed in January with a United Nations committee, the United States insisted it is "unequivocally opposed" to torture and that its commitment to the ban "remains unchanged."

The January report said President Bush "has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture under any circumstances."