24th Jan 2021

MEPs to shame 11 EU states in final CIA report

The European Parliament in its final report on alleged CIA kidnappings and prisons in Europe is set to name and shame 11 EU member states with Poland coming in for some of the heaviest criticism, Polish press agency PAP reveals ahead of the study's Wednesday (29 November) publication date.

Italy, the UK, Germany, Sweden and Austria saw terrorism suspects snatched on their territory the report by Italian socialist MEP Claudio Fava will say, while the UK, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Romania and Poland hosted hundreds of secret CIA flights.

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  • The network of suspect CIA flights stretches across almost all of Europe (Photo: Council of Europe)

The density of the flights - suspected of being used for "extraordinary renditions" or transfer of prisoners without trial or legal redress to sites such as Guantanamo Bay or Uzbekistan - was the greatest in Germany (336), the UK (170) and Ireland (147).

But Poland, which saw just 11 recorded CIA flights, remains under suspicion as a place where there "may have been a temporary, secret holding facility" for terror suspects near the Szymanow airport in the northeast of the country, Mr Fava is planning to say.

The allegation is based on eyewitness testimony that a Boeing 737 plane from Kabul landed in Szymanow airport on 22 September 2003 with seven people on board and picked up another five people before flying on to Guantanamo Bay.

Further testimonies suggest that six other flights to Szymanow in 2002 and 2003 landed and took off with no customs or immigration controls, were approached by Polish military vehicles and paid inflated airport fees in cash.

Mr Fava's study will also take Poland to task for "failure to cooperate" properly with the parliament's CIA committee, after Warsaw declined to field any government ministers or MPs to answer MEPs' questions and the Polish parliament opted not to hold any enquiry into the affair.

Italy, the UK, Austria, Romania and Macedonia are to be named as uncooperative states as well, while Macedonia and Bosnia are to be accused of seeing suspects snatched by US intelligence on their soil.

The news comes as Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on Tuesday wrote that a suspicious Gulfstream jet also made six landings at Warsaw's Okecie airport in 2003 from places such as Afghanistan and Morocco, citing "international flight records."

EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini has in the past clarified that any EU member states caught violating "fundamental human rights" could face suspension of EU voting privileges under articles six and seven of the EU Treaty.

But the MEP's year-long hunt for hard evidence - sparked by initial reports from NGO Human Rights Watch and a leak to the Washington Post - has so far failed to uncover anything strong enough to warrant the move, experts say.

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