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European Parliament must investigate alleged CIA torture flights in Belfast and Derry

5 April, 2006


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today called upon the European Parliament to 'thoroughly investigate allegations that airports in the North of Ireland have been used in connection with the unlawful transfer of prisoners'.

Amnesty International has said it has evidence that planes which have been used to take prisoners to illegal imprisonment and torture centres in third countries landed and refuelled at both City of Derry and Belfast International Airports.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"There has been increasing speculation for many months that a number of European countries have allowed their airport facilities to be used by the CIA for the illegal transport of prisoners to third countries. Indeed, a European Parliament Committee was recently established to ascertain whether or not this practice exists and how widespread it may be.

"The British Government must respond to the allegations that planes which have been used to take prisoners to illegal imprisonment and torture centres in third countries landed and refuelled at both City of Derry and Belfast International Airports. Equally the Irish Government also has questions to answer about the alleged use of Shannon Airport.

"The Amnesty International report entitled: Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and 'disappearance' makes chilling reading and I echo calls for an independent inquiry into any local involvement with such practices.

"I also call upon the European Parliament committee responsible for investigating this matter to take onboard the mounting evidence that two airports in my constituency have been used in connection with this abhorrent practice. This practice known as "rendition" is a clear violation of basic human rights. We must ensure that our airports and airspace are not used to support and facilitate renditions or rendition flights." ENDS

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