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SF TD hands 'book of evidence' to Gardaí on 'rendition' flights

22 February, 2006

Speaking as he handed in a 'book of evidence' in relation to the ongoing practice of 'extraordinary rendition' as practiced by the US in its so-called 'war on terror' Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh said, "Given the governments insistence on further evidence before they will act to uphold human rights, it is imperative that the Garda Síochána search all planes related to the US-led so-called war on terror."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh went on say, "For this reason I am bringing my reasonable grounds of concern to Harcourt Street Garda Station today and I am asking the Gardaí to do their job and investigate the evidence. The book of evidence that I am submitting to the Gardaí contains reports from the UN, the Council of Europe and major international NGOs including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. It also contains media reports detailing the comings and goings of these planes from Shannon Airport. The contents of this book are considered 'credible evidence' by the Council of Europe special investigator - I am demanding that the Gardaí go and gather the rest of the evidence by searching the planes.

"The practice of 'extraordinary rendition' violates a range of fundamental human rights including: the right to recognition as a person before the law; the right to liberty and security of person; the rights not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The practice also violates the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1957, in addition to the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under any form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and 1988 respectively.

"These planes are an integral part of the infrastructure of the United State's illegal rendition programme and as such they should be refused entry into the jurisdiction of this state and denied any services by same. And this must be the case whether the detainees happen to still be on board while the planes are here or not. As a responsible member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe it is our duty under international law not only to bring a halt to this illegal practice when it occurs but also to actively prevent such acts.

"The United Nations Committee Against Torture reporting on the United States of America last November expressed concerns around the re-definition of torture by the current Administration who now employ a narrower understanding of the term. In light of their re-definition of torture any assurances from the US that they do not practice torture are 100 per cent worthless." ENDS

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