Portugal to conduct probe of CIA extraordinary rendition flights

[JURIST] Portugal is the latest country to open an investigation into alleged stopovers of secret CIA rendition flights [JURIST news archive] transporting terror suspects, according to a report from state-owned news agency Lusa [media website, in Portuguese] Monday. Last month, a report [DOC text] adopted by a European Parliament (EP) [official website] special committee alleged that some EU nations knew about CIA activity in Europe, including the existence of secret flights and CIA-operated secret prisons [JURIST news archive]. While there was no direct evidence that Portugal was used as a stopover, an EP deputy met with Portuguese Attorney General Candida Almeida [official website, English version] last week to share witness testimony that CIA planes landed in Portugal en route to Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], among other destinations. EP deputy Ana Gomes said she offered statements to Almeida that documented accounts of handcuffed prisoners at Portugal's Azores Islands airport. The attorney general's decision to move forward with a formal investigation comes a week after Foreign Minister Luis Amado [official profile] said that a lack of evidence meant no further probe would be conducted. AP has more.

January's EP report concluded that "over one thousand CIA-operated flights used European airspace from 2001 to 2005 and temporary secret detention facilities 'may have been located at US military bases' in Europe" and criticized "the passivity of some Member States in the face of illegal CIA operations." The report will be presented to the full EP for a vote in February. The EP also found that 16 EU countries cooperated with the CIA [JURIST report] "passively or actively" in the transport and illegal detention of prisoners. Among the implicated nations is England, which in January admitted knowledge of a CIA prison network [JURIST report] before its existence was publicly acknowledged by President Bush.



 

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