The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - December 7

Italians are the biggest opponents of torture, even as a method of extracting information from terrorists, according to an international survey out Tuesday. The Associated Press-commissioned survey, which was carried out by international polling firm Ipsos, found that 60% of Italians believe there can be no justification whatsoever for employing torture. Only 23% of Italian respondents said torture could sometimes be justified.

While respondents in other countries allied to America, such as Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain and South Korea, were also heavily opposed to torture, the percentages were not as high as in Italy, the poll showed. The country which showed the least opposition to torture was the United States, where only 36% said torture could never be justified.

The survey came amid allegations that America has resorted to illegal methods in Europe in its war on terrorism. America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is reported to have carried out covert operations in Europe with the possible knowledge or consent of local governments, allegations which have outraged public opinion across the bloc.

The CIA has been accused of 'rendition', the practice of transporting suspects to other countries for interrogation, and using European airports for refueling stops during these secret transfers. The agency is also accused of running secret prisons in Eastern Europe, where aggressive interrogation techniques outlawed in the US can be deployed, and sending prisoners to countries like Egypt and Syria where torture is commonplace, as well as grabbing suspects off the streets in European countries.

The European Union is seeking clarification from the US over the reports.