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Extraordinary Rendition

DW staff (jen)November 29, 2006

Germany and 10 other states knew about secret CIA prisons in Europe, and obstructed investigations into the case, the European Parliament said in a report.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa

There were 11 European countries that knew about secret US jails for terror suspects and obstructed the investigation into the transport and illegal detention of prisoners within Europe, a European Parliament committee said in a draft report on Tuesday.

"Many governments cooperated passively or actively (with the CIA)," the committee's rapporteur Claudio Fava said. "They knew."

The draft, which was based on classified documents and secret informants, noted at least at least 1,245 suspicious flights through European air space or stopovers at European airports that took place at the request of the CIA.

The report was the result of an investigation by a special committee of the European Parliament into "extraordinary rendition" -- the US practice of transporting terrorist suspects to third countries for questioning.

Extraordinary rendition

Javier Solana
The report took the EU's Javier Solana to taskImage: AP

Human rights groups accuse the United States of having used extraordinary rendition in order to interrogate suspected terrorists under methods not allowed in the US itself, including torture.

The German government has dismissed the report, which came out Tuesday. The EU committee also claimed Austria, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus knew about the prisons.

The report urged officials in the individual EU countries to start their own investigations as to whether their governments have broken European human rights accords with their use of extraordinary rendition.

It also criticizes EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and anti-terror coordinator Gijs de Vries, accusing them of having given incomplete statements to the investigating committee.

Failure to cooperate

The report was especially critical of Solana, expressing its "profound preoccupation" with the "omissions" and "denials" when the EU's top diplomat appeared before the committee, in May.

Germany and Spain were the only countries Fava said adequately cooperated with EU committee's investigation. Fava offered little in the way of conclusions, simply inviting the EU authorities to "accept their responsibilities" to deal with the offending member states.

Khaled el-Masri
Khaled el-Masri wants an apology from the CIAImage: AP

Meanwhile, a US appeals court in the state of Virginia has agreed to hear the case of German-Lebanese citizen Khaled el-Masri against ex-CIA chief George Tenet. El-Masri accused the CIA of taking prison in Afghanistan, where he was allegedly beaten, in a case of mistaken identity.

El-Masri is seeking damages of at least $75,000 (57,142 euros) on allegations of unlawful capture, imprisonment, torture and other human rights violations. A decision is expected next week, a

spokesman for the Richmond court said.

In May, a lower US court had refused to hear the case that sparked a parliamentary investigation in Germany, saying it would uncover state secrets and thus endanger the public.