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CIA on your doorstep

European Parliament addresses the CIA prison scandal
20 December, 00:00

The European Parliament has approved a decision to investigate information about secret CIA prisons on European territory, in which terror suspects are allegedly being held. The leaders of the political parties in the European Parliament will meet for their first conference in January to endorse a draft on the composition and powers of the investigative commission. The European Parliament will then vote on the draft. “This will be a temporary commission to collect information and prepare a report. It will not conduct an investigation,” European Parliament spokesman Jose Liberato said. The commission will work concurrently with the European Council commission investigating these allegations. The scandal erupted in early November after the Washington Post quoted sources in the US government, who said that the CIA organized a network of secret prisons for Al-Qaeda prisoners in some Central and Eastern European countries, as well as in Afghanistan, Thailand, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.

The international human rights watchdog Amnesty International supports these accusations, while the International Red Cross has voiced concern over what happens to detainees in such prisons. According to the Washington Post, detention and interrogation bases are located in Poland and Romania. Officials of these countries have rejected these accusations. After verifying data on these secret prisons, the European Council commission concluded recently that there is cause for suspicion. It turns out that the US may have used the territory of individual European countries in the transit of terrorist suspects. Italy, Spain, and Germany have sent queries to their national airports to determine whether they have serviced “suspicious” flights. Representatives of the European Council commission have examined documents recording flights on European territory in order to establish the dates and locations where the secret CIA planes landed. Poland announced its intention to investigate its possible involvement in the secret network of CIA prisons. The commission intends to study satellite images of Szymany Airport outside the Polish town of Szczytno and the Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania. According to the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, CIA planes landed in this particular location.

At the same time, EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini cautioned against hasty conclusions. “There is no evidence to support these accusations. To determine the truth means to find evidence. Accusations without evidence may not be considered legally valid,” he stated in his address to European parliamentarians.

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