Scotland: Amnesty response to vote on renditions at European Parliament – Scotland must do more

Responding to a vote today (14 February 2007) by the European Parliament to adopt a report by an MEPs’ renditions committee, Amnesty International welcomed the report and called for action from the UK and Scottish government.

The report, by the Temporary Committee of the European Parliament on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (TDIP Temporary Committee), has itself called for further investigations into allegations that European countries have been complicit in the USA’s illegal ‘renditions’ operation.

Amnesty International has previously reported on over 1,000 flights linked to the CIA, most of which have used European airspace. Even though analysing only a small proportion of the CIA’s aircraft fleet, Amnesty International has listed over 150 CIA flights to numerous airports in the UK and Ireland in the past five years.

Airports have included Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick, and Edinburgh. Some of the planes landing at these sites are known to have transported ‘war on terror’ suspects to secret detention and torture.

Amnesty International’s Programme Director for Scotland John Watson said:

“We welcome this report and now reiterate our call on the Scottish Executive to establish whether Scottish airports have been complicit in the kidnapping, transporting, secret detention and torture of prisoners by allowing CIA rendition flights land and refuel.

“The UK government has to establish whether its officials have been involved in the extraordinary rendition and torture of prisoners. The Government line that it has checked and can find no evidence of complicity with CIA rendition is not good enough.

“For example, there is already serious concern at the possible complicity of UK officials in the rendition of two UK residents - Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna - from Gambia to Guantanamo Bay.

“Scotland should now follow the lead of several European countries in allowing independent investigations into any Scottish involvement with rendition.”

Amnesty International has issued several reports on the issue of renditions and has been calling on the UK government to allow an impartial, independent investigation into the matter.

Recently Amnesty International has been running an online appeal urging MEPs to adopt the European Parliament renditions report and for the UK government to sign a new international convention to stop all enforced disappearances.

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