Minister denies Spain colluded in CIA flights

13th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 June 2006, MADRID — Spain's defence minister has denied claims that the government allowed CIA planes carrying terrorist suspects to stop over on Spanish territory.

13 June 2006

MADRID — Spain's defence minister has denied claims that the government allowed CIA planes carrying terrorist suspects to stop over on Spanish territory.

Jose Antonio Alonso said his government had "never had any evidence that any kind of illegality was committed" in Spain.

He was speaking after a top Spanish judge said he was about to start investigating the flights, the BBC reported.

The judge's ruling overturned a finding by state prosecutors that the matter was outside Spanish jurisdiction.

Spain firmly denied a report by the European human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, that it was one of 14 European countries that colluded with the CIA in the secret practice known as "extraordinary rendition".

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos plans to address the European Parliament soon to deny any Spanish role in the CIA flights.

Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said the Spanish airport of Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, was among the international "staging points" for secret CIA prisoner transfers.

Judge Ismael Moreno, who sits in the Audiencie Nacional court, said on Monday he would investigate the allegations, adding that under Spanish law, crimes such as torture could be prosecuted in Spain even if committed elsewhere.

Washington has criticised the Council of Europe report, saying it was full of allegations but thin on facts.

The US admits picking up terrorism suspects but denies sending them to nations to face torture.

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Subject: Spanish news

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