EU Parliament raises pressure for CIA flights, torture, prisons probe
(Brussels, 11 September 2012) Amnesty International has welcomed today’s vote in Strasbourg by the European Parliament, endorsing by 568 votes (34 against, 77 abstentions) a new report on accountability for EU countries’ involvement in multiple human rights violations including torture. The report urges the countries to fulfill their legal obligation to investigate their role in the global CIA-led rendition and secret detention programmes, which involved the torture and the enforced disappearance of alleged terrorism suspects.
“This is an excellent outcome. The report has now been overwhelmingly endorsed by MEPs from all political groups, so it sends a very powerful signal”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “We’ve been campaigning for urgent attention to this issue since the last report in 2007. But much remains to be done. We now need to see tangible action by the various governments, and an end to their evasion of responsibility.”
Amnesty International launched the campaign Unlock the Truth in Europe to coincide with the final stages of the report’s adoption. The campaign recently passed a petition with thousands of signatures to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. No EU country has yet met the legal obligation to hold a full and effective investigation into its role in the CIA programmes. Despite fresh information on rendition flights to and from Lithuania released by Reprieve this week, the authorities in Vilnius still refuse to re-open a criminal investigation into two secret CIA sites set up there in 2002 and 2004.
The report focuses on the three European countries known or alleged to have hosted secret CIA detention sites: Lithuania, Poland and Romania. In Poland, a continuing investigation into a CIA secret prison has made limited progress, but the prosecutor has refused to keep either the parties or the public adequately informed. Romania has flatly denied any involvement in the CIA programmes, including credible allegations of a secret CIA prison there and has refused to investigate further. Although flight data and information released in 2011-12 clearly implicate Denmark and Finland, both governments have refused to hold a human rights-compliant investigation. In July this year, Finland rejected a recommendation arising from its UN Universal Periodic Review process which asked it to hold a full investigation into its role in the rendition programme, to prosecute those involved, and to compensate victims.
In the report, EU countries are urged to hold full and effective investigations into collaboration with the CIA in setting up these sites, where suspects were tortured and otherwise ill-treated. Amnesty International will continue to seek information on possible forensic analysis of the sites, which might indicate whether anyone was held there. All three governments deny, without having produced any public evidence, that anybody was secretly detained on their territory.
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