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November 29, 2005

Prisonners in the sky?

The EU Council has hired Dick Marty, an ex Swiss prosecutor famous for his fight against the Mafia to investigate the issue. Marty immediately requested photos of some prison sites during the past three years from the European Union's satellite center in Torrejón, Spain.

According to Der Spiegel (Germany): “He also contacted the European aviation authority, Eurocontrol, asking for data on the flight movements of 31 aircraft suspected of having served as CIA shuttles for the transport of prisoners or abducted terrorism suspects.” Articles about flights of planes suspected to belong or to be rented by the CIA have begun to appear at least in the German, the Portuguese and the Spanish press.

The subject is obviously attracting more attention in Europe where sanctions could be applied to member countries if it is proven that they have hosted “Black sites” (see this note).

In the European Parliament, the socialist group (second in importance) criticized European leaders for their complacency. It declared that “the existence of such prisons would be a clear violation of Human Rights and EU criteria.”

One of the touchy issues is that European sanctions against “prisons” would not apply to planes in transit according to Franco Frattini the EU commissioner for Human Rights quoted by Le Monde.

But El País (Spain) quotes Marty as saying that a Guantanamo in Europe was not likely: “Everything indicates rather a methodology and logistics which consists in ferrying prisoners from one point to another and keeps them for a couple of days.”

Der Spiegel goes further: “the highest-ranking al-Qaeda members are apparently kept moving with a small group of CIA interrogation experts, like an invisible caravan, from one of the so-called black sites to another.”

[Map taken from Der Spiegel. See full size here]

Posted November 29, 2005 11:30 AM


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