Parliament urged the US authorities not to impose the death penalty on Guantanamo detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, voiced concern at the "selective prosecution" of key opposition leaders in Ukraine and condemned abuses of power by government and security forces in Madagascar, in urgent human rights debates and resolutions on Thursday.
The European Parliament calls on the US authorities not to seek the death penalty for Saudi national and Guantanamo detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in a military court trial to be held in the coming weeks. MEPs say Mr al-Nashiri should instead be given a fair trial in accordance with international standards of the rule of law.
Parliament also urges EU foreign policy High Representative Catherine Ashton "to raise the issue as a matter of urgency with the US authorities".
The resolution urges the US "to review the military commissions system to ensure fair trials, to close Guantánamo, to prohibit in any circumstances the use of torture, ill-treatment, incommunicado detention, indefinite detention without trial and enforced disappearances, and reminds the EU institutions and Member States of their duty not to collaborate in, or cover up, such acts".
EU Member States must prosecute those involved in CIA renditions and secret prisons programme, say MEPs, adding that more EU countries should help the US government to resettle Guantanamo detainees.
Mr al-Nashiri's case is especially sensitive in Europe, since he alleges that for several months in 2002 and 2003 he was tortured and held in secret CIA detention in Poland and that during his four years in CIA custody before being transferred to Guantanamo he was tortured by various means including water boarding. He would also be the first to be tried before a military commission court since President Obama authorized the resumption of such trials in March 2011. The prosecution has already recommended that the death penalty be an option at the trial, although this must be approved in advance by an official appointed by the US Secretary of Defense.
Mr al-Nashiri has been charged with murder and terrorism for his alleged leading role in the 12 October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, in which 17 US sailors were killed and 40 more injured and in the 6 October 2002 attack on the French oil tanker MV Limburg in the Gulf of Aden, in which a crew member was killed.
"Normal criminal trials under civilian jurisdiction are the best way to resolve the status of Guantanamo detainees", stress MEPs, who insist that Mr al-Nashiri should be charged promptly and tried in accordance with international standards of the rule of law, or else released.
MEPs note that in 2009, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions urged the US not to conduct any capital prosecutions before military commissions.
MEPs voice concern at the growth in "selective prosecution of key political figures" from the opposition - including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko - and the "disproportionality of the measures applied". The Ukrainian authorities are urged to lift the travel ban imposed on these leaders and to let them participate in Ukraine's political life. Finally, MEPs call on the Commission to consider the creation of a High-Level EU Advisory Group to Ukraine to assist its efforts to conform to EU legislation, including that on the independence of the judiciary.
MEPs condemn violence and abuses by the Malagasy security forces against their own population and reiterate their strong condemnation of the process by which President Andry Rajoelina seized power - including the widely-criticized November 2010 constitutional referendum - and is maintaining his "illegal and illegitimate regime". MEPs urge the EU and UN Security Council "to impose and extend sanctions on the regime until the political crisis is resolved".