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Rights group urges French inquiry into alleged CIA rendition flights

[JURIST] The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] is urging French prosecutors to open a judicial inquiry into allegations that CIA-operated rendition flights [JURIST news archive] stopped at French airports. A local French prosecutor has already opened a preliminary investigation into claims that CIA planes which landed at Le Bourget airport outside Paris carried terror suspects being transported to countries where they could be subject to torture. Following a report [PDF text] released by Amnesty International [advocacy website] earlier this month detailing the CIA's alleged use of private air carriers and "front" companies to hide its rendition practices, the FIDH is calling for an international judicial commission to look into the allegations.

US officials have repeatedly denied using rendition to allow suspects to be tortured by foreign governments, although Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has acknowledged making mistakes [JURIST report] in the "war on terror." In March, the Council of Europe Secretary General issued a report [JURIST report] concluding that there was no clear evidence of any secret CIA detention facilities in Europe. Suspicions have persisted, however, with declassified Canadian memos and UK air traffic controllers [JURIST reports] suggesting that the US did use rendition to transfer suspects through their domestic airspaces. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak recently said that he is certain [JURIST report] that the United States has secret detention facilities in Europe and has demanded access to them. AFP has more. Le Monde has local coverage.

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