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EU delegation queries US officials on CIA prisons, rendition flights

[JURIST] A 13-member delegation of European Union [official website; JURIST news archive] officials arrived in Washington on Tuesday and began meeting with Bush administration officials, members of the US House and Senate and other officials in Washington as part of a European Parliament inquiry [official website] into whether European countries were involved in clandestine CIA prisons [JURIST report] or flights moving suspected terrorists. According to German MEP Cem Ozdemir, the purpose of the inquiry is not to question Central Intelligence Agency [official website] tactics, but to assess the extent of European involvement.

In March 2006 a Council of Europe [official website] investigation into allegations that the CIA operated secret prisons in Europe revealed no "smoking gun" evidence [JURIST report] that proved the existence of the prisons. The report also concluded that it was "virtually impossible" to determine whether the CIA used European airspace for extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text]. Italian MEP Giovanni Claudio Fava, however, issued an interim report [PDF text; JURIST report] for the European Parliament committee last week concluding that the CIA has been involved in renditions and the kidnapping of suspected terrorists within EU territory who were then transported to countries for torture. AP has more.

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