EP: 1000 CIA flights passed through Europe

The Parliament’s committee of inquiry has produced a midterm report, which suggests that some EU governments knew of undeclared CIA flights that passed through EU airspace.

After three months of hearings the rapporteur Socialist MEP Giovanni Fava who lead the committee of inquiry, has put forward his interim report into allegations of illegal transport of terrorist suspect prisoners and secret prisons on EU territory. 

On the latter the committee has produced little hard evidence. However, documents obtained from Eurocontrol, the European air safety agency,  provided data showing that during the past five years around 1000 CIA planes made stopovers on European territory. This raises the suspicion that some EU government colluded and accepted the risk that prisoners were taken to third countries known to use torture

According to Fava the flights were in violation of an international air treaty that requires airlines to declare the route and stopovers for planes with a police mission: “The routes for some of these flights seem to be quite suspect. … They are rather strange routes for flights to take.” He found it was hard to imagine that “those stopovers were simply for providing fuel.”

According to the New York Times, the C.I.A. declined to comment on the EP findings, but an agency spokesman defended the practice of taking suspects to third countries, which is known as rendition.

“Renditions are an antiterror tool that the United States has used for years, consistent with its laws and treaty obligations,” said the spokesman, Paul Gimigliano. “The C.I.A does not condone or tolerate torture, transport individuals to other countries for the purpose of torture or knowingly receive intelligence obtained by torture.”

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