EU politicians overwhelmingly back CIA report

6th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 July 2006, BRUSSELS - European lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly backed a controversial European Parliament report accusing European governments of having colluded with alleged illegal United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations on the continent.

6 July 2006

BRUSSELS - European lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly backed a controversial European Parliament report accusing European governments of having colluded with alleged illegal United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations on the continent.

The report was approved by a majority of 389 Euro MPs, with 137 voting against and 55 abstentions.

Evidence submitted to the inquiry makes it "implausible that certain European governments were not aware of the activities linked to extraordinary rendition taking place on their territory," the report said, adding that national governments had failed to act but instead remained silent.

Italy, Sweden, Germany and Macedonia are likely to have assisted the CIA in abducting terrorist suspects, Euro MPs said.

They also called for establishing EU rules to beef up controls of foreign secret services operating on European territory.

In addition, Euro MPs criticized current EU rules on the use of national airports and airspace as "totally inadequate" and called for harmonising national regulations.

In a plenary debate Wednesday, conservative deputies slammed the report as "extremely tendentious in that it takes only into account points which are critical of the United States."

The preliminary conclusions, drafted by Italian Socialist MEP Claudio Fava, detailed findings by a European Parliament inquiry committee into charges that the CIA abducted, transported and detained terrorist suspects on European territory.

Most European governments have denied the allegations.

Washington has denied any wrongdoing, saying that it does not send suspects to other countries without assurances from those governments that they will not be tortured.

The preliminary findings did not explicitly mention alleged detention centres in Poland and Romania. But the committee chairmen have said that they want to send a fact-finding mission to both countries.

In addition, hearings are planned with government representatives from Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany.

The committee's interim report followed three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by human rights activists and individuals who say they have been kidnapped by US agents and tortured.

The 46-member parliamentary committee investigating the CIA charges was set up in January. Its final report is expected by the beginning of next year.

The committee is working in tandem with an inquiry by Europe's top human-rights watchdog, the Council of Europe. However, the committee has no power to sanction European governments.

Clandestine detention centres, secret flights via or from Europe to countries where suspects could face torture, or extraordinary renditions would all breach the continent's human-rights conventions.

DPA

Subject: German news

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