20th Jan 2022

EU states complicit in CIA abductions, new report says

Several European countries acted as stepping stones in the CIA practice of abducting and transporting terrorist suspects to secret detention centres, a new report by Europe's main human rights body the Council of Europe will say.

The report will be presented in Paris on Wednesday (7 June) by its author Swiss MP Dick Marty after a seven-month inquiry into the US intelligence agency practice of "rendition" of terror suspects in Europe between the end of 2001 and early 2005.

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"It is now clear – although we are still far from having established the truth – that authorities in several European countries actively participated with the CIA in these unlawful activities," the report said according to the BBC.

Rendition missions were launched from airports in Germany, Spain, Turkey and Azerbaijan, while airports in Ireland, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic were used for re-fuelling it adds.

Abductions took place in Sweden, Macedonia, Italy and in Bosnia Herzegovina where after detainees were either dropped off or transferred further to Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Romania, Uzbekistan and Poland, among other countries.

The report also contains evidence to support previous suspicions that secret CIA camps were set up in Poland and Romania. Both countries have previously strongly denied the allegations.

Mr Marty concludes by saying that the "spider's web" of US rendition flights is based on an "utterly alien" approach that breaches human rights.

The NGO Human Rights Watch – which first came out with the news in early 2005 – has together with other human rights groups heavily criticised the renditions practice for exposing suspects to the risk of torture.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe is made up of 46 European countries.

If any of these member states participated in any of these CIA activities it could constitute a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights underpinning the organisation.

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MEPs have called for the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, to appear before the European Parliament's temporary committee to face questions about CIA rendition flights on Portuguese territory during his time as the country's prime minister.

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Polish and Romanian security officials have confirmed to Europe's human rights watchdog that the two countries hosted secret and illegal CIA prisons, while the watchdog also says that EU member states were aware of CIA kidnappings and rendition flights, UK daily the Guardian has reported.

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