Euro MPs to extend probe into CIA activities

13th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 June 2006, BRUSSELS/STRASBOURG - European Union lawmakers investigating alleged CIA activities in Europe agreed to extend their probe with a focus on trying to find out whether Romania and Poland have hosted illegal CIA prisons.

13 June 2006

BRUSSELS/STRASBOURG - European Union lawmakers investigating alleged CIA activities in Europe agreed to extend their probe with a focus on trying to find out whether Romania and Poland have hosted illegal CIA prisons.

Members of a European Parliament committee scrutinizing allegations of CIA detention camps and flights transferring terrorist suspects across Europe endorsed the committee's findings so far and extended the inquiry for another six months, parliament officials said Tuesday.

MEPs meeting in Strasbourg agreed on using the second phase of the probe to try to bring national governments to book for their possible involvement in the alleged CIA action.

The committee charged European governments of violation of human rights for failing to act over the abduction, transport and detention of terrorist suspects by the US on European territory.

The next six months will see the committee try to find out whether illegal detention centres have existed in Europe with MEPs likely to undertake factfinding missions to Romania and Poland.

Europe's top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, last week charged that the two countries had hosted clandestine CIA camps. Bucharest and Warsaw, however, deny the allegation.

The council said that to varying degrees, a total of 14 European countries colluded with the CIA in rendition flights - the US practice of transferring detainees to other countries for interrogation where they have no protection or rights under US law.

Poland, Romania, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Britain, Italy, Macedonia, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Greece were part of a global network which helped the CIA run secret detention centres and transfer suspected terrorists, it said.

"It is now clear that authorities in several European countries actively participated with the CIA in these unlawful activities," the council's investigator Dick Marty concluded.

Working in tandem with the council's inquiry, the European parliament's committee in the coming months aims to quiz national governments on their involvement in the alleged CIA activities.

Data from Eurocontrol, the European air safety agency, shows that the CIA operated more than 1,000 undeclared flights in Europe since 2001, the committee said in its first findings published in April.

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 final version of the text said.

The 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 group investigating the CIA charges was set up in January. It 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.

Meanwhile, Spanish judicial sources said Monday that Madrid's National Court would investigate alleged secret CIA flights transporting terrorist suspects through Spanish airports.

DPA

Subject: German news

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