EU to probe new allegations on 'CIA prisons'

9th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 January 2006, BRUSSELS - The row over allegations of CIA-run prisons in Europe continued Monday, with the European Commission saying new information on such suspected camps in Romania would be part of a Council of Europe fact-finding mission.

9 January 2006

BRUSSELS - The row over allegations of CIA-run prisons in Europe continued Monday, with the European Commission saying new information on such suspected camps in Romania would be part of a Council of Europe fact-finding mission.

The Commission's comments came as the Swiss government announced an internal investigation into the publication of secret service documents relating to alleged covert CIA prisons in Europe.

The announcement by the Swiss Defence Ministry followed the publication by weekly Swiss magazine SonntagsBlick of a fax supposedly from Egypt's foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit to his country's embassy in London. The fax appeared to confirm the existence of CIA jails on E.U. territory.

A Commission spokesman said the E.U. executive had not been informed of such developments, but added: "This new element of information will be included in the investigations by the Council of Europe."

The Council of Europe - a 46-nation body which is separate from the European Union - is currently investigating the allegations and is due to present its findings by the end of the month.

The Commission will support the Council-led investigations by backing requests to obtain E.U. satellite images as well as flight records of alleged CIA flights carrying detainees to such camps, the spokesman said.

According to the fax obtained by the Swiss magazine, 23 Iraqi and Afghan prisoners were interrogated at the Romanian military base Mihail Kogalniceanu on the Black Sea coast.

The document further earmarks Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia and Ukraine as other locations of the camps.

The Swiss government has been pressing Washington for explanations on alleged secret flights over its territory as well as the alleged use by CIA prisoner transfer flights of Geneva airport.

Bulgarian foreign minister Iwajlo Kalfin on Sunday denied the existence of secret CIA jails on the country's territory.

Italy, Spain and Germany are conducting their own legal investigations into alleged secret CIA flights.

The European Parliament next week will vote on setting up a temporary committee to deal with the alleged secret CIA flights and the illegal detention of prisoners on E.U. territory.

"We are not at a point yet where all the facts have been established," the Commission spokesman said.

Allegations of the existence of covert CIA prisons for terror suspects in Eastern Europe were broken by the Washington Post in November, with Human Rights Watch subsequently identifying Romania and Poland as possible hosts of the camps.

The European Commission has indicated that E.U. member states as well as candidate countries such as Romania and Bulgaria could face sanctions if the allegations are found to be true.

DPA

Subject: German news

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