European secret services colluded in CIA terror transfers

Seven other countries "could be held responsible for collusion — active or passive," the report added: Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The United States has already criticised the Council of Europe report as a list of unproven allegations.

Marty said the Council of Europe’s assembly should pass a resolution later Tuesday calling for effective measures to combat the threat of terrorism but which also respected human rights.

"We must have a judicial world order with our friends and allies the United States, but it must be based on values led, in particular, by the Council of Europe," he said.

Marty’s report won the backing of human rights groups which urged countries involved to stop helping with renditions and to persuade the United States to halt the practice.

"European governments should be ashamed of their participation in illegal detentions and must end their involvement at once," said Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch.

In a statement, the four groups called for independent public inquiries to investigate government involvement in renditions and secret transfers.

Their recommendations include new legislation to beef up existing laws on human rights; changing aviation policy so that aircraft cannot carry prisoners through a state without authorisation; and a pledge not to return suspects to countries where they may face torture even if there are diplomatic assurances that they would not be mistreated.

Franco Frattini, vice president of the European Commission, said a European parliament commission was still working on its own inquiry into the flights.

He admitted there was little that could be done on a European basis about individual countries’ secret services.

Nevertherless, "we must clarify in stricter detail what should be allowed or not," he added.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, which is separate from the European Union, was set up after World War II to promote democracy and human rights. It has 46 member states.