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European Parliament opens CIA secret prisons inquiry

[JURIST] The European Parliament [official website] Thursday opened an official investigation [press release] into allegations that several European countries allowed the CIA to secretly detain prisoners [JURIST report] within their borders and airspace as part of the US "war on terror". The investigation will determine:

- whether the CIA or other US agents or intelligence services of other third countries have carried out abductions, "extraordinary rendition", detentions at secret sites, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners on EU territory or in acceding or candidate countries, or have used this territory to these ends, for example by through flights to or from such countries;

- whether such actions, which would have been carried out as part of the fight against terrorism, could be considered a violation of Article 6 of the EU Treaty, of certain provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and of other international treaties and agreements, including EU-US agreements on extradition;

- whether EU citizens have been detained;

- whether EU Member States or institutions have been involved or have been complicit in the illegal deprivation of the liberty of individuals."
EU rules strip member nations of voting rights in the EU's Council of Ministers if the state is found guilty of a serious human rights violation, and EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said in November that the EU would sanction any country found to house such facilities. Last December the European Parliament voted 359-127 to investigate the claims [JURIST report] after Human Rights Watch publicized evidence supporting allegations that Poland and Romania have allowed the CIA to operate secret prisons within their borders. The EU launched its own investigation [JURIST report] last November, the day after the Washington Post broke the story. Reuters has more.

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