According to an article by Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian, the US has a series of floating prisons in which people are held and questioned in a law-free regime. See US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships for the grisly story.
A few snippets:
According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as “floating prisons” since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.
Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.
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. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.
“By its own admission, the US 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. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them.”
(My emphasis — can this really be true? Is this 'secret prison' number including all the Iraqi detainees in camps in Iraq, or is there some other network of major camps?)
Reprieve provides frontline investigation and legal representation to prisoners denied justice by powerful governments across the world, especially those governments that should be upholding the highest standards when it comes to fair trials.
Reprieve lawyers represent people facing the death penalty, particularly in the USA, or when those facing execution are British nationals. And we represent prisoners denied justice in the name of the ‘War on Terror’, including those held without charge or trial in Guantánamo Bay and the countless secret prisons beyond. None of these prisoners can afford to pay for representation.
It has been said that you can judge a society by how it treats people accused of violating its laws. Through the example set by the world’s most influential nations, fundamental human rights principles stand or fall across the world.
Reprieve uses international and domestic law as a tool to save lives, deliver justice and make the case for world-wide reform.