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Spain judge to review US rendition memo as investigation continues

[JURIST] Spanish National Court Judge Ismael Moreno Wednesday asked the Spanish Foreign Ministry for a certified copy of a 2002 internal government memorandum [PDF text, in Spanish] detailing a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] request to use Spanish resources [JURIST report] in aiding CIA extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] flights. Moreno said that after reviewing the memo [AP report] he will subpoena the memo's purported author, Foreign Ministry official Miguel Aguirre de Carcer. Charges could be filed against current or former government officials who knowingly allowed US planes carrying prisoners to make stopovers on Spanish soil.

The memo in question, originally labeled "very secret" but published by Madrid's El Pais newspaper late last month, is especially controversial because the Spanish government had previously denied consent or knowledge of rendition flights [JURIST report] routed through Spain since 2005. When the memo was authored, Spain was led by a conservative government that gave way to the socialist administration of Prime Minister Rodríguez Zapatero in 2004. In 2006, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told the European parliament [JURIST report] that, despite assurances from the US to the contrary, rendition flights may have stopped on Spanish islands off of the country's south coast.

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