Reports of Secret Prisons Cause Concern in Europe

Individual countries have launched investigations into possible CIA rendition and torture of terrorism suspects. Evidence has been revealed that the United States transported suspects to secret sites in various EU countries.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And in a moment, we'll hear what US officials are saying about the secret prisons. First, NPR's Rachel Martin has been tracking the response in Europe.

RACHEL MARTIN reporting:

There's been mounting concern in Europe since 2001 over the CIA's use of what's called extraordinary renditions to detain suspected terrorists. Now with the recent allegations that the CIA is using European airports to transport detainees and the reports of so-called black sites in Poland and Romania, European leaders are calling for answers. Franco Frattini is the justice commissioner for the European Union.

Mr. FRANCO FRATTINI (Justice Commissioner, European Union): (Through Translator) It's absolutely clear that such facts would represent if they really happened a serious infringement of the principles of the European Union as well as of the laws of EU member states which punishes such facts.

MARTIN: Frattini asked Poland and Romania if such black sites existed in their countries. Both countries denied the allegations; although some Polish officials have not dismissed the possibility. Richard Charnevski(ph) is the Polish representative to the European parliament.

Mr. RICHARD CHARNEVSKI (Polish Representative, European Parliament): I think that it probable that the presence of CIA was in Poland. I understand that the United States must have instruments in ...(unintelligible) but we must know about every activities of our American friends in our country.

MARTIN: But that answer doesn't satisfy many members of the European parliament like Sarah Ludford from Great Britain.

Ms. SARAH LUDFORD (European Parliament): If the CIA really has tried or succeeded to have these facilities in Eastern European states, then I think it would make the EU frankly a laughingstock if we're unable to find out that there's absolutely no truth in it or we look as if we can't be bothered to find out if there's any truth in it.

MARTIN: Individual countries have launched their own investigations into the CIA's renditions. Prosecutors in Spain have filed a report accusing the CIA of using an airport in Mallorca during the alleged kidnapping of a German national who says the CIA flew him to Afghanistan where he was questioned and tortured. Separately, Italy is investigation the alleged CIA kidnapping of an Islamic cleric from Milan in 2003 who was flown to Egypt via Germany. Prosecutors in Germany have also opened a criminal investigation in connection with the case. Everhard Bier(ph) is the lead attorney.

Mr. EVERHARD BIER (Attorney): (Through Translator) Landing a CIA plane on German soil is not a crime. The crime is if a kidnapped person touches German soil and is forced on to another plane bound for a third country, in this case Egypt. This is a violation of Germany's laws of constraint and a deprivation of liberty.

MARTIN: Sweden and Norway have launched inquiries into possible CIA operated flights there, and the Danish foreign ministry has asked the CIA to avoid Danish airspace altogether when transporting secret prisoners. This week, members of the European parliament are expected to push for a more comprehensive investigation into the CIA's activities in Europe.

Rachel Martin, NPR News, Berlin.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.