French stopovers add to ‘torture flight’ evidence
PARIS, Dec 2 (AFP) - Aircraft hired by the US Central Intelligence Agency possibly to transport Islamist prisoners have made at least two stopovers in France, in 2002 and 2005, the daily Le Figaro reported Friday.
The conservative newspaper said the first flight was that of a Learjet which landed in Brest after arriving from Keflavik in Iceland on March 31, 2002 and took off again for Turkey.
Officials at Brest airport told Le Figaro that the jet headed for another stopover in Rome, with the crew saying there were no passengers on board.
The second flight arrived at Paris Le Bourget airport from Oslo on July 20 this year, the paper said quoting Norwegian daily Ny Tid. The plane was a Gulfstream III.
The United States was facing mounting embarrassment as allegations continued to emerge of a shadowy network of both secret prison camps and CIA “torture flights” carrying undeclared detainees through European and other countries.
British newspaper The Guardian said Thursday it had seen navigation logs showing that more than 300 flights operated by the CIA had passed through European airports, as part of a network that could be involved in the clandestine detention and possible torture of terrorism suspects.
There have been widespread reports that the alleged network could involve both the transport and torture of undeclared detainees.
The EU has meanwhile threatened sanctions against any of its member states found to have been operating such prisons, or allowing their territory to be used for the transport of the phantom detainees.
Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said in Washington on Thursday that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will make a statement on the row over reported secret CIA prisons when she visits Europe next week.
Subject: French news