Secret Prisons

Image of a secret prison

Reprieve investigates extra-judicial proxy detention and military detention in secret prisons around the world. We reunite ‘disappeared’ prisoners with their legal rights.

While President Obama stopped the use of secret prisons upon coming to office in 2009, many of the people affected are still being denied justice. Reprieve works on their behalf and fights to ensure that these ‘black sites’ will not return.

America’s network of secret prisons spanned the globe. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001, the US abducted people and rendered them to prison camps in Afghanistan, the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia, Djibouti, Egypt, Syria and Poland, among many other countries.

The US administration justified its appalling treatment of these people by labelling them “enemy combatants”; suspected terrorists have no constitutional rights. Prisoners were brutally tortured, whilst being held in legal black holes, with no access to a lawyer, and no hope of release.

Reprieve is investigating the role of European states, including Romania, Poland and Lithuania, in the illegal incarceration and torture of prisoners in the so-called “war on terror”. It emerged in 2005 that the CIA was detaining people in secret prisons on European soil, transporting them covertly through European airspace and airports, and interrogating them using illegal “enhanced” methods – a euphemism for torture.

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