EU nations 'concealed' CIA flights

European parliament resolution "condemns" rendition of terrorism suspects.

    The vote on the resolution came after a lengthy debate which divided the deputies[AFP]

    "[It] condemns, further, the acceptance and concealing of the practice, on several occasions, by the secret services and governmental authorities of certain European countries."

    The European parliament has no legal authority on the matter and can only make recommendations.

    The vote followed a debate a lenghty debate on the report.

    'Rigorous analysis'

    "It is the rigorous analysis of five years of excesses and abuses often tolerated in the name of the fight against terrorism," Claudio Fava, the report's author, told parliament. "Many governments have looked the other way."

    "You cannot fight terrorism in a dirty war in our name"

    Ignasi Guardans Cambo,

    Liberal group parliamentarian

    Ignasi Guardans Cambo, speaking for the Liberal group, said the facts had been checked and proved. "You cannot fight terrorism in a dirty war in our name," he said.

    But some paliamentarians said the report was fuelled by anti-Americanism and lacked hard evidence.
    "It presumes there is one chief guilty party and that is the USA," Jas Gawronski, the lead parliamentarian of the conservative European People's Party on the investigating committee.
    "That's why we don't like this report," he said.

    Torture denial

    Washington has acknowledged the secret transfer of suspects to third countries but has denied that it tortured them or handed them to countries that did.

    The European parliamentary report criticised 13 current EU nations for involvement in CIA seizures of terror suspects or non-cooperation with the investigation - Austria, Britain, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland,  Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden, along with non-EU nations Bosnia, Macedonia and Turkey.
    The report, which accuses countries of "turning a blind eye" to  the practice, argues that Europeans had been informed of the practice by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, at a Nato-EU meeting in February 2005 and subsequently at high-level meetings in Brussels on February 8 and May 3.
    According to the report, the CIA operated more than 1,245 flights through European airspace between 2001 and 2005.

    Franco Frattini, the EU's justice and security commissioner, said that the truth must be uncovered, but called on the 27 nations of the  European Union to carry out their own investigations.
    "It is not for the European institutions to pass judgments and to hand out verdicts but ... to ask that the truth be sought," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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