MEPs slam last German government over Kurnaz

14th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

14 September 2006, BRUSSELS - Senior European lawmakers on Thursday slammed the former German government for failing to "come clean" over a German resident with Turkish citizenship who was held in the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than four years.German Socialist Euro MP Wolfgang Kreissl-Doerffler said the former Socialist-Green coalition government must come clean about its involvement in the case. "Lay your cards on the table," he demanded. Seeking to shed new light on the controversia

14 September 2006

BRUSSELS - Senior European lawmakers on Thursday slammed the former German government for failing to "come clean" over a German resident with Turkish citizenship who was held in the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than four years.

German Socialist Euro MP Wolfgang Kreissl-Doerffler said the former Socialist-Green coalition government must come clean about its involvement in the case. "Lay your cards on the table," he demanded.

Seeking to shed new light on the controversial issue of alleged CIA activities in Europe, a special European Parliament committee heard from the lawyer of a German-born Turkish citizen who has been held in Guantanamo classified as an "enemy combatant."

Murat Kurnaz, who returned to Germany on August 28, was released after "a long legal and political battle...lacking from the German side a good diplomatic initiative," his lawyer Bernhard Docke said.

Docke said the US already offered Kurnaz' release in October 2002, saying that there was no case against him.

"But Germany just said: 'We don't want him, we don't want to let him in again'," Docke told MEPs, adding: "They simply refused him."

If Kurnaz had had German nationality, the release would have taken place in 2002, sparing the now 26-year-old some four years in prison, Docke said, adding: "Instead he ended up in some kind of diplomatic provisions vacuum."

The lawyer said that the US never issued an arrest warrant and that there was no legal procedure against Kurnaz. "There is no proof until now why he should be in Guantanamo," he stressed.

German Green MEP Cem Ozdemir said the committee would seek to discuss the case with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who headed the office of former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The European Parliament's committee has said that a delegation of Euro MPs will travel to Berlin next Tuesday.

Until late last year German officials had said they would like to but lacked the means to negotiate Kurnaz' release because he holds Turkish nationality and that Ankara was responsible, Docke said.

Kurnaz was caught while travelling through Pakistan in November 2001 and handed over to US forces. During his term, he claims he was repeatedly mistreated, psychologically tortured and lived undernourished.

Euro MPs are investigating charges that the CIA ran secret camps on European territory to question terror suspects and whether national governments were complicit. The probe started in January.

DPA

Subject: German news

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