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Rights group claims Portugal aided Guantanamo renditions

[JURIST] The Portuguese government helped in the rendition [JURIST news archive] of more than 700 prisoners to Guantanamo Bay by allowing the US to use Portuguese territory and airspace, a British prisoner rights group reported [PDF text] Tuesday. Reprieve [advocacy website] said that 728 out of the 774 prisoners processed at Guantanamo came through Portuguese jurisdiction and that a significant number were tortured before their arrivals in Guantanamo. The report relies on information from Portuguese flight logs, prison arrival data from the US Department of Defense, and declassified prisoner testimony. Reprieve legal director Clive Stafford Smith said that the prisoners could not have reached Guantanamo without Portuguese complicity [press release, PDF] and urged the Portuguese government to conduct a public inquiry into possible breaches of international law.

A 2006 report [DOC text] by a European Parliament committee [official website] investigating the US Central Intelligence Agency's alleged use of European countries for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners found that many European countries were aware that the CIA operated secret prisons [JURIST news archive] or used their territory for the transfer of terror suspects. The committee found that Portugal was among 16 EU countries that had cooperated with the CIA [JURIST report] "passively or actively" in the transport and illegal detention of prisoners. In 2007, the Portuguese government opened its own investigation [JURIST report] into secret CIA rendition flights. The government has denied Reprieve's charges. Reuters has more.

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